How to Stop a Highway

Interesting timing with US Department of Transportation releasing this handy toolkit about how to influence and/or stop bad infrastructure projects.

The Department of Transportation releases a plain-language toolkit to help citizens weigh in on all kinds of projects—so they can thwart the bad ones

CityLab: How to Stop a Highway (13 December 2016)

The Department of Transportation releases a plain-language toolkit to help citizens weigh in on all kinds of projects—so they can thwart the bad ones.

So, let’s say your state department of transportation wants to widen the highway in your neighborhood. It’s a horrendous idea—more noise, more pollution, and a bigger tear through city streets.

But how do you tell them so? The project’s draft analysis is thousands of pages long, full of technical verbiage you’d need degrees to understand. The public forums are cage fights between cranky neighbors and engineers with jargon-studded retorts for every possible complaint. Besides, what’s the point? The highway’s coming, whether you pipe up or not. That’s what always happens. Right?

1. Transportation Toolkit

The Transportation Toolkit is geared toward members of the public who wish to learn how to engage in the transportation decision-making process at the local, regional, state and federal levels. The Toolkit demystifies the decision-making process.  It explains that transportation projects go through a predictable lifecycle (i.e., plan, fund, design, build and maintain). The Toolkit also defines key transportation acronyms and jargon using both text and graphics, and highlights engagement opportunities created by civil rights and public involvement regulations

2. Transportation Toolkit Quick Guide

The Quick Guide is a high level overview of the Transportation Toolkit.

3. Stories from Community Transportation Leaders

These stories highlight members of public like YOU and the impacts they had on transportation in their communities. Each storyteller describes how a transportation plan or project has increased the community’s access to opportunities including work, school, transportation and recreation. These individuals saw a transportation problem in their community, got involved in the decision-making process, rallied their communities, and created change. We hope these stories inspire you to read the Transportation Toolkit and get involved in transportation in your community!

4. Facilitator Guide and Facilitator Resources

The Facilitator Guide  is a companion to the Transportation Toolkit.  The Facilitator Guide was created to:

  • Help you plan a Leadership Academy in your community! Invite your neighbors to learn from the Toolkit.
  • Help you and your community figure out how to transform knowledge into action. The exercises and activities in the Facilitator Guide can help you better understand the transportation decision-making process and help you figure out where you can get involved in local and regional transportation projects. Note: Given the broad range of experiences and needs of different communities, some of the exercises or activities may need to be adjusted to fit your community.

You will also find resources to support those who have limited facilitation experience e and resources to improve your intergroup communication skills.