Public involvement in transportation infrastructure decision making is frequently mandated and is regarded as increasingly essential by a wide variety of stakeholders. The integration of advanced technologies, such as visualization, into this process is increasingly desired. However, public involvement processes often are regarded as problematic by many stakeholders and the state highway agencies charged with implementing them. Structured public involvement (SPI) is posited. SPI takes a systems approach toward the integration of advanced technologies into public involvement forums. Because the goal of public involvement is to increase user satisfaction with both the process and the outcomes, the characteristics of advanced technologies and their capacities for gathering useful feedback in public forums must be evaluated. Visualization is put forth as an enabling technology within an SPI framework. The properties, capacities, and transportation-related uses of three visualization modes are evaluated, and their operational features are discussed. A case study dealing with highway improvement in central Kentucky reveals that three-dimensional renderings are significantly preferred to two-dimensional and virtual reality modes; the case study also shows that visualization should complement, not replace, other performance information. The role of electronic scoring as an integral component of this SPI protocol is emphasized, resulting in fast assessment and free expression of views. Factors affecting the efficiency of visualization are analyzed, and recommendations are presented for implementing SPI protocols that rely on visualization. These include investigating participants' previous experience with visualization, incorporating iterative public involvement in finalizing design options, and ensuring that the technologies are compatible with the chosen public involvement process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering