The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is in the process of updating its long-range transportation plan, Access Ohio. The new plan, with a horizon year of 2040, will include a comprehensive inventory, forecast, and analysis of the trends and issues affecting transportation throughout Ohio. The previous Access Ohio was completed in 2004. ODOT waited almost a decade to begin the plan update process and in that decade technology greatly altered the ways by which people communicate.
ODOT’s Public Involvement (PI) strategy for Access Ohio 2040 bears little similarity to its predecessor. The Access Ohio 2040 PI strategy focuses on electronic communication for stakeholders and the public. Three venues will be used for electronic communication. The first venue is the public website, www.access.ohio.gov. The website will host all draft documents. In addition, the site will provide members of the public the opportunity to participate in surveys and submit online comment forms. The second venue is the Access Ohio email account. Stakeholder communication will primarily be through email, although most emails will direct stakeholders to the website to view recently uploaded documents. The third venue is social media. Access Ohio will be utilizing existing ODOT Facebook and Twitter accounts. Social media will allow ODOT to easily and inexpensively advertise public involvement opportunities and the availability of draft documents. No in-person public meetings will be held for Access Ohio 2040. Instead, ODOT will be hosting electronic public meetings. The electronic meetings will focus on complex topics and analysis such as improvements to transportation corridors. In particular, the video component of these meetings will allow ODOT the opportunity to discuss methodology while simultaneously presenting visuals graphics and maps. Content from electronic meetings will be kept on the website after the meetings have concluded.