Inclusive Planning Guide Phase 2. Design


The goal of inclusive coordinated transportation planning is systemic change – long-term strategies and practices that are engrained in the fabric and culture of an organization.

Letting Goals Emerge

The theory of change that has guided the efforts of this ACL-funded Transit Planning 4 All project is that meaningful engagement of participants in the planning process will lead to the development of community and public transportation services that are responsive to the needs and preferences of users and potential users of such services. Specific service improvement goals should emerge in an inclusive planning process. Thus, inclusive transportation planning, while primarily concerned with increasing inclusivity, can improve transportation through expansion of current services, introduction of new services and/or more consumer-responsive services.

Define Success

It is important for the parties involved – participants, partners and staff – to reach consensus on an initiative’s goals, think of success along a scale where the ultimate objective is one measure of success and interim milestones are recognized as significant achievements.

The viewpoints of all involved in the initiative, especially riders and potential transportation users, should be considered in defining success. Even if the ultimate goal of the initiative is not achieved, the engagement of diverse participants in the transportation planning process and their commitment to continuing involvement are significant steps in inclusive coordinated transportation planning.

Realistic Expectations

Barriers to an inclusive transportation planning initiative’s ultimate success are inevitable. No initiative perfectly unfolds the way planners imagined at the outset, so identifying potential barriers, especially those outside the control of the lead agency and key partners, is advisable. Be sure to identify reasonable expectations and interim milestones that can be pointed to as evidence of forward movement. These victories can keep participants and partners engaged.

Build trust and commitment so that participants and key partners understand that change may be slow and incremental, but that staying the course will lead to real improvements.

Celebrate Success Along the Way

In the middle of an initiative, success may seem far off. Having interim milestones in place enables partners and participants to recognize progress. Marking accomplishments and acknowledging hard work are critical for keeping everyone interested, building camaraderie and inspiring everyone to remain committed.

Examples from the Field

Greater Portland Council of Government (Portland, ME) set two goals:

  • Identify systemic ways to actively and consistently include older adults, people with disabilities, and people of color in regional transportation planning and decision-making.
  • Secure support for Inclusive Transportation Planning strategies from PACTS (Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System) the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Boulder County’s (CO) Mobility for All Project had two sets of clearly stated goals that supported achievement of desired outcomes:

  • Technology Education: Expand access to and use of smartphone-based transportation applications and empower volunteer ambassadors to work with participants to use the technology.
  • Mountain Volunteer Driver Program: Build trust and capacity and create
    an Implementation Plan.