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public participation with the Utah Transit Authority
Developing a relationship-based toolkit
Intentionally planned and well-executed public engagement with public organizations can help government agencies better, and more equitably, serve the public, especially for communities and parties who do not feel heard by these organizations meant to serve them. While the importance of public input is widely recognized by many in the public sector, it is also true that the way input collection is designed is a crucial factor, and even well-intentioned approaches to engage the public can fail.
Transportation agencies—organizations in charge of managing public transportation and other transit infrastructure—often struggle to address the needs of communities because they lack a clear understanding of public priorities, fear that input is not representative of the entire service population, and do not have the tools or processes in place to translate them into real decision-making power. Public agencies are left grappling with how to conduct public engagement that is impactful, influential, and equitable.
For the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) this is no more true than in preparation for Change Day, an annual day in August when many changes to transit lines are implemented. This yearly event presents a particularly difficult challenge, as service changes directly impact everyday rider experience. Often engagement ends up feeling like a box-checking activity or a task to be in compliance with regulations that does not yield actionable insights for Change Day service planning. In addition, planners and UTA team members work to prioritize equity in plans, which can be in conflict with the desires expressed through public engagement.
Design Masters student
Sept 2022 - April 2023
Utah Transit Authority
Alongside the UTA community engagement team, the UTA service planning team, and other UTA team members I conducted an analysis of the current Change Day public engagement process through design-led workshops with both UTA and members of the public. The result was a four-part toolkit that speaks to key elements of the engagement process through an equity lens, and a service blueprint that points future practitioners to important areas of the relationship between agencies and the public.
🚧 Under Construction 🚧
This page is still under construction as I continue to add the key elements of my thesis work. Thank you for your patience!
Full Thesis Work
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