McCormick Taylor worked with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) to update their Public Participation Plan (PPP). MPOs are required to update their PPP every five years. PPPs provide an outline of the tools and techniques used to inform and engage the public throughout the transportation planning and programming processes. The document can be used by the public and planning agencies to learn how to participate, understand methods for sharing information, and identify opportunities to provide input. The updated draft PPP was presented for public comment in March 2021, and the final document is now available on the SPC website. We sat down with Carrie Machuga, AICP, a Planner I in our Pittsburgh, PA office to learn more.
What is your role on this project?
I helped to review and revise the existing PPP content based on current regulations and best practices from other MPOs.
Does the project have any unique aspects?
A goal that SPC gave us at the beginning of the effort was to make the PPP more understandable, readable, and accessible for an everyday reader. The existing document was long and sometimes difficult to read, and SPC wanted to make it a really helpful resource for the public to understand how to participate with SPC processes.
We reviewed the existing content and revised it to remove some of the repetitive information, and Christi Sabb, a Communications Specialist II in our Harrisburg office, used her extensive knowledge of Plain Language to simplify the text to make the information easy to read and understand.
Beyond revising and updating the text in the document, our graphic design staff worked to use images, photos, charts, and other visual elements to make the information even easier to read and understand. They took large sections of text and turned them into infographics to explain the information in one glance, instead of reading lots of text.
What’s your favorite part of the project?
This is some of my favorite work – making sometimes difficult topics like transportation policy and regulations understandable for the community. Public participation is an important part of transportation planning and design, so it was great to have a part in helping residents of our region understand how to get involved!
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