Public Involvement Report
Other Agency Public Involvement
In addition to the formal public involvement program,
KDOT offers many opportunities and makes many efforts to provide the public
with "access to the process." During the course of a year, there
are literally thousands of contacts made by the public with KDOT employees
at all levels, particularly at the Area Engineer and District Engineer
level. At headquarters in Topeka, the publicís concerns are addressed
daily in the form of individual and group meetings with KDOT management,
e-mail contacts, telephone calls and letters. For those people who truly
want to have input and are willing to make even a very minimal effort,
the opportunities are there in abundance. Public involvement must be a
two-way effort. Those who want to have input and involvement must be willing
to make at least some minimal effort, and many do.
KDOTís existing Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)
was adopted in 1995. Adoption of that plan involved an extensive public
outreach effort including surveys, public forums, stakeholder meetings
and a special effort to reach out to leaders of some of the major businesses
in the state to get their input on how transportation can better serve
their industry. As a result of that outreach effort, the plan was developed
and contained nearly 50 policy recommendations. Some were recommendations
to continue initiatives that had recently been undertaken and others were
recommendations to begin new initiatives, many of which have been undertaken.
Some initiatives that have been undertaken as a result of recommendations
in the LRTP are listed below:
- Developing a specific public involvement program with dedicated
staff in headquarters and each district. This effort has been described
earlier in this document.
- Develop an Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) plan for Kansas
and dedicate full-time staff to ITS initiatives. An ITS statewide
Long-Range Plan has been developed with the help of a large outreach
effort to stakeholders and the general public. The first two projects
undertaken were Early Deployment studies in Kansasí two largest metro
areas, Kansas City and Wichita. Both of these studies involved massive
outreach efforts with stakeholders and citizens in those areas.
- Develop a corridor preservation and access management program with
dedicated staff. This initiative is ongoing and is by its very definition
an outreach effort with local governments, stakeholders, developers
and citizens to make KDOT plans and efforts mesh with city and developer
goals so that we are working in concert and not at odds with each
- Advanced Preliminary Engineering (APE) studies. The LRTP recommended
that KDOT undertake such studies in advance of committed construction
funding on major and complex corridors, bridges or interchanges to
allow more time and effort to be spent on identifying environmental,
social and economic issues related to the location. A significant
number of these type projects have been undertaken, some of which
are still ongoing. These studies involve massive public involvement
efforts in terms of dollars and time. Many new and innovative methods
have been used on these projects to try to reach the public more successfully.
In addition to the LRTP, other initiatives have been
undertaken in recent years to involve the public and solicit their opinions.
A very extensive survey was done in 1997-1998 of the general public to
determine what was important to them and how well they think KDOT is doing
its job. This survey is going to be redone in late 2000 and early 2001
to allow KDOT to determine whether the publicís attitudes have changed
and whether KDOT is doing better or worse in meeting the publicís expectations.
The results of the initial survey and the coming update will serve as
input in an ongoing effort to update and/or change KDOTís priority formulas
that are used to select major modification and priority bridge projects.
In recent years, KDOTís Bureau of Local Projects has
required local governments to have a rolling five-year construction program
for spending their local federal-aid funds. This plan must be adopted
locally and the local government must certify each year that the plan
update was exposed to public involvement before adoption.
During 1998, Kansas Governor Graves appointed a 28 member
Transportation 2000 Study Group to hold statewide public meetings to study
the stateís transportation needs. The group was charged with "seeking
the input, advice, and dreams of Kansas citizens, communities, regions,
and advocacy groups." The effort lasted a full six months and included
12 town hall meetings across the state; each attended by nearly all-28
members. More than 2,500 people attended these meetings and more than
500 people presented testimony. This is the most massive public involvement
effort ever undertaken in Kansas. Information gleaned from this effort
served as direct input to KDOT and the Kansas Legislature in developing
our current ten-year Comprehensive Transportation Program (CTP). The information
gathered during the Transportation 2000 effort will also serve as a springboard
for the upcoming Long Range Transportation Plan update effort.
KDOTís Substantial Maintenance and Major Modification
program projects are selected by the Pavement Management System and priority
formulas respectively. These are objective data driven systems. Over the
years, literally thousands of meetings and/or presentations have been
held with governments, stakeholders, and citizens explaining these systems
and processes and receiving input about them. Each system is constantly
subject to minor tweaking in response to changing needs, and on a less
frequent basis, each is looked at for major update needs as a result of
changing technology, data availability, and public perceptions and desires.
Many other KDOT programs such as the local partnership
programs, some set-aside programs such as ITS, non-state railroad grade
separation, and Corridor Management, and most importantly System Enhancement
projects, are solicited directly from local governments. All of these
type projects are generally high visibility, well-documented and discussed
local needs that have had a long history of public discussion.
Anyone who would indicate that there is not significant
opportunity for input into KDOTís processes, policies and programs, is
not only misinformed, they are mistaken.
| PIA | HQPILs | PILs
| Other Efforts | Conclusion