A vision creates significant benefits with the potential to improve both the quality and timeliness of decision-making.
- A vision provides a framework for the physical, economic and social context of the future community. This can help transportation decision makers avoid delays in plans and projects that are caused by fundamentally different points of view on the community's future. Visions provide a mechanism to align transportation decisions with the quality of life outcomes that the community has defined for its future.
- A vision can articulate consensus from the community on its future. To achieve consensus, the visioning process must be broad-based and inclusive of all of the diverse interests within a community. It is built on proactive and interactive collaboration of formal decision makers with any and all interested groups or individuals.
The result of this collaboration is both consensus on the vision and a commitment to implement the vision by using it as the foundation for all community plans, projects and priorities. This alignment creates an opportunity to implement integrated planning, including land use, transportation, conservation, and economic development plans that are not only consistent but mutually supportive. Transportation decisions improve when planning and project development builds upon the relationships and partnerships that are established during visioning.
The products of visioning serve as a foundation to guide the scope and broad direction of future transportation plans. In addition, visioning can also be used as a means to facilitate public involvement in the development of a specific project or plan. TCAPP supports both by showing how the outcomes of the visioning process described in T-VIZ are integrated in all four phases of transportation decision making, from planning through project development. Community visioning can occur at any point in time, but the long range transportation plan process often provides a logical point at which to incorporate the community vision. However, visioning can also guide project prioritization in Programming, provide input for the detailed study of solution sets in Corridor Planning, and be used as a checkpoint in Environmental Review to make sure the preferred alternative is consistent with the community's vision.
Visioning for Communities (T-VIZ) and Transportation for Communities (TCAPP) Relationship
Both T-VIZ and TCAPP are based on a philosophy of collaboration that includes:
- Interdisciplinary participation by a broad range of formal community, environmental and transportation representatives
- Proactive outreach and interactive involvement of diverse range of stakeholders;
- Commitment to using the context and quality of life values defined by the community as the foundation for decision making;
- Emphasis on creating and vetting a range of scenarios or solutions;
- Expanding decision maker and stakeholder ownership in the decision making process and responsibility for implementation.
Both T-VIZ and TCAPP are based on robust collaborative practices. T-VIZ includes four Visioning Components which act as focus areas for different visioning activities. Each of these components is relevant to transportation decision making as well.
Successful visioning requires involvement, collaboration, and partnership by public, private, and civic organizations, including the formal transportation decision making partners. Partner organizations are a major factor in any effort to reach consensus that can be carried forward into implementation. During transportation decision making these same partnerships may be leveraged to ensure the adopted vision is reflected in the adopted transportation plan, project prioritization, corridor or sub-area studies, and environmental review. A lack of collaboration can slow momentum on getting a project implemented and weaken links between the principles that are developed in the visioning process and application of these principles to the plans and policies of partners. This application shows where to consider those partnerships and how those partnerships may be important in TCAPP.
A successful visioning process will enhance public understanding and ownership in transportation decisions. Improving communications with stakeholders can produce public trust in the transportation process and give stakeholders the ability to provide appropriate feedback. Visioning also increases stakeholder ownership and commitment to the community consensus for the future. When communities have created a vision, it is essential that transportation decision making use it as the foundation for transportation plans and projects. An important aspect of TCAPP is collaboration with stakeholders and incorporating their input into transportation decision making. TCAPP can be used to build upon the outreach conducted and input gathered in T-VIZ, to produce a more robust transportation process that is linked and builds on the stakeholder outreach conducted during visioning.
Visioning gives communities the opportunity to express their desires for the future, including transportation components. Visioning offers a community the chance to better understand how transportation systems can shape the community's future and how specific transportation goals or strategies can help achieve the preferred future. A transportation project that emerges from a consensus vision may be more likely to create lasting value for a community by helping move toward long-term environmental, economic, or social goals. When local governments are involved in regional visioning processes, the projects they choose to sponsor are often more reflective and cognizant of community values and concerns, and more consistent with established goals; these projects are also more likely to be selected or prioritized for funding within an MPO or DOT transportation plan.
Implementation of a visioning process is as important as the development of the vision. Successful visioning processes create specific actions or "next steps" needed to implement the vision. Transportation agencies are an essential partner in supporting implementation. The linkage between T-VIZ and TCAPP will help practitioners understand how transportation plans, programs and projects need to support the implementation of the community vision.