Most transportation projects will affect more than just the traveling public. Because it is important to reach out to anyone who may experience impact, a thorough and accurate key stakeholders list is essential. In addition to motorists, key stakeholders may include municipalities, city officials, businesses, first responders, the military, civic leagues/neighborhood groups and area residents, to name a few.
Each of these groups has a designated Public Information Officer (PIO) or communications manager. The easiest and most cost-effective way of communicating with them is through routine email and project updates.
After identifying key stakeholders, include them on project updates and request that they forward the information to their networks, departments and employees. For example, one email to a city PIO or major employer communications manager within the project vicinity will allow you to reach thousands of motorists.
You can reinforce communications by making a phone call to each PIO or communications manager. Introduce yourself in relationship to the project and let them know you have identified them as key stakeholders. Let each PIO or communications manager know you want to keep them informed for their benefit, to confirm they are receiving project updates and to confirm that the updates are useful.
In conjunction with building the stakeholder list, a project website is crucial to keeping the public informed. All project updates must drive individuals to this website.
A more direct and personal approach is often required for high-impact transportation construction projects. This may include making public appearances at community events, giving presentations to civic leagues and rotary clubs or hosting “lunch-and-learn” events with impacted businesses. This gives the public a face-to-face opportunity to ask questions, receive project information and have their voices heard regarding the project’s impact, as well asinsight on how to mitigate it. This face-to-face interaction will foster support and increase understanding for the full scope and benefits of the project.
An accurate key stakeholder list is essential to the success of your project. Don’t let a community be surprised by highway construction and inconvenience. Engage them and allow them to prepare. This will help manage the impact and promote the project benefits.