The purpose of this synthesis is to provide the current state of practice for online public involvement (OPI) tools used by state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and to identify additional areas of research needed based on information gathered from a literature review and survey of state DOTs. The research team composed of staff from the Public Outreach and Engagement Team (POET) at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, performed the research and wrote the components of this report.
An online survey instrument consisting of 48 questions, which included both closed and open-ended questions, was emailed to all 50 state DOTs to gather information about their OPI practices. Topics covered in the survey included the use and types of online tools, guidelines and procedures for using OPI, challenges and benefits of using OPI, organizational staffing needed to implement online involvement, interpretation and use of feedback from online tools, and reasons for not using online involvement if that was applicable. Survey responses were received from 43 out of 50 state
DOTs for a response rate of 86%. Follow-up interviews were conducted in April 2018 with five state DOTs that had responded to the online survey to provide further detail and perspective on the strategies used when implementing OPI and barriers to use of OPI.