Nobody Knows Who We Are – Celebrating 50 Years
Corresponding Author: Jacob Gonzalez, Benton-Franklin Council of Governments
Presented By: Jacob Gonzalez, Benton-Franklin Council of Governments
The Benton-Franklin Council of Governments (BFCG), a recently designated Transportation Management Area celebrated our 50th Anniversary in September 2016. Our challenge was to re-introduce our agency and our role to a community that was aware of us but not understood what we do. In preparing for the update of our Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP), our staff wanted to be sure the public had the opportunity to be involved and aware of the work conducted at BFCG. We started from scratch, with two goals: Introducing and educating the public about BFCG; secondly, reaching out to the public in non-traditional settings to gather input on new MTP, Transition2040.
Beginning in May 2016, BFCG released a public survey which garnered over 600 responses (250% increase from our response rate from 2010). We changed the way information was presented utilizing attractive info-graphics rather than stagnant statements and phrases. During the summer months, we visited local farmers markets and community meetings for local downtown associations. Our first public event was a partnership between a major chamber of commerce and the local transit agency. The event took place next to a major bus transfer point allowing us to reach riders where they already are. TRANSPORTATION BUCK$, was a game played at the event where attendees could allocate $3 million dollars (our average STP allotment) to five different transportation strategies aligned with our MTP. We provided poster boards with questions asking participants to respond with their opinions on our community’s transportation challenges and what they would do to fix them. This feedback not only tied back to our planning efforts and performance measures but would not have been available through previous comment methods.
In the upcoming months, BFCG is scheduled to present to neighborhood rotary clubs, senior center locations, and young professionals associations, school districts and in January we will be sponsoring the local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce luncheon. By reaching out to the public in settings they are more comfortable in, we have seen and hope to continue to see more dialogue and conversation about the public’s role within the development of Transition2040.