Planning: Where Community Engagement Meets Equity


  • Best practices for engaging different environmental-justice populations based on social and cultural differences
  • Tools and resources to use as a starting point for developing outreach strategies
  • How to review staff skills and competencies necessary to conduct meaningful community engagement


Learn how to overcome challenges to locating environmental-justice communities and how to communicate in a culturally sensitive manner. Questions about how to identify an environmental-justice community, its boundaries, and its leaders remain. Public participation is therefore an integral part of the planning process that helps ensure that decisions are made in consideration of and to benefit public needs and preferences, particularly in traditionally disadvantaged and underserved communities. Early and continuous public involvement brings diverse viewpoints and values into the decision-making process. Learn how to provide a balanced approach representing all stakeholders and including measures to seek out and consider the needs of all stakeholders, especially in communities that are traditionally underserved by past and current transportation programs, facilities, or services. Attracting meaningful public participation involves seeking public input at specific and key points in the decision-making process on issues where such input has a real potential to help shape the final decision or set of actions; however, this process is often not adequately adhered to in communities of color. This course offers resourceful tools, best practices, and strategies to navigate transportation-planning projects more equitably.