Note: The IAP2 November webinar was notable for a number of technical issues. Just before it started, one of the worse storms in living memory knocked out power on Southern Vancouver Island, where our physical office is located. We had to scramble to set up at an alternative Wi-Fi site (thank you, Starbucks!) and our presenters stepped up to get the webinar “on the air”, but we apologize again for the technical problems and thank everyone who took part for sticking it out.
In just about any field, marrying academic research and the actual practice can be a bit of a challenge. Our November webinar looked at ways in which that’s happening in the P2 field. Our guests were Fiona Cavanagh of the Centre for Public Involvement in Edmonton and Stephanie Brooks with the Standing Committee on Public Involvement of the US Transportation Research Board.
CPI was founded out of the City of Edmonton’s desire to learn best practices in the P2 field, so it can engage its citizens properly. CPI’s research involves testing new ways of engaging the public in order to tackle complex issues like climate change and transportation. Fiona explained that this work is more about doing research with the community rather than on the community, and one of its early assignments was to look at the state of public engagement in the city transportation system. A Citizens’ Jury on Internet Voting was also a major project undertaken by CPI. CPI recently completed work on a “Diversity and Inclusion” kit, which turns theory into practice in the general area of making sure as wide a range of people as possible is covered by a P2 effort. CPI is also part of a multinational democracy effort called Participedia.
The TRB’s Standing Committee on Public Involvement is in charge of enhancing understanding and acceptance of P2 in transportation policy implementation. Like CPI, it researches best practices and new techniques, sets standards for P2 and enhances the public involvement skills of transportation professionals across the US.
One of the committee’s recent completed projects was to develop two “problem statements” that were approved for funding by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. It also sponsors the “John and Jane Q. Public Competition”, which looks for fresh and creative ways of communicating complicated transportation issues to the general public.
IAP2 Canada members can review the webinar and access collateral materials – including the PowerPoint decks, relevant links and responses to questions asked during the webinar – here.