Alaska: Evaluation Through Public Engagement
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT) began in 1996 to redefine the agency’s relationship to the public. The ADOT faces unique challenges in engaging the public due to the long distances between population centers. The ADOT must support transportation needs for an area measuring more than 2500 miles east to west. ADOT Planning staff turned to the people of the state to help the agency identify the best means of creating an ongoing dialogue. They then organized and assessed the public input and used what they learned to develop a public involvement plan (PIP) that in turn has been applied to updating the state long-range transportation plan (Vision 2020) and to identifying projects for the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). While the ADOT experience does not represent a formal evaluation process, it does illustrate the value of public input as an effective tool in evaluating public involvement practices. It also provides a useful example of continuous evaluation in the compilation of the PIP.