Posted on Mar 18, 2021
Global-5’s plan for a public hearing became a model for other events by combining live online sessions with in-person meetings.
Keeping residents, businesses and motorists informed of the latest transportation plans is an essential part of any state transportation agency’s mission.
Construction plans cannot advance without officially alerting affected members of the public and addressing any questions and concerns. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, disrupted that orderly process, delaying some projects.
Last fall, a Florida transportation agency turned to Global-5 to develop and execute a plan for holding public hearings during the pandemic. An improvement project on an interchange with a busy interstate highway became the test case. The plan incorporated several safe, user-friendly practices, including:
- Offering multiple avenues for participation, including real-time online viewing, phone-in options and in-person meetings, where masks and social distancing were required.
- Creating a webpage in advance of the meeting with information on how to connect using various platform options, plus a submission form for questions in English and Spanish.
- Setting up several sanitation stations for the in-person event, where masked attendees could review detailed maps and speak with agency representatives.
- Providing methods for online viewers and phone callers to submit questions during the live session with state and county officials.
- Making supplemental material, featured at the event, available online in Spanish and English.
The public hearing was a success, drawing active participation from residents and other stakeholders through a variety of channels.
Chris Patton, APR, a vice president and director at Global-5, said the detailed plan became a template for the client agency going forward. “Our goal was to find safe ways to keep the public informed while providing real-time online options and a socially distanced event for those wanting to attend the meeting.”