The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) has released a guide to local transport consultations outlining the legal and statutory duties involved in local or nationally significant infrastructure and place-shaping projects.
Using illuminating case studies, Involving the Public and Other Stakeholders makes the case that while technical knowledge is a foundation for good infrastructure interventions local engagement is key to developing the best solutions for the long-term.
Written in a plain English style, the guide is not just of use to professionals but also could be of interest to local residents wishing to find out more about their rights and options for engagement.
‘The skills of transport professionals are essential, but transport schemes are also social and political decisions as much as technical, and participation is about understanding such issues to develop a better scheme,’ the report states.
As well as outlining and providing links to the legal frameworks behind public consultations - including the 2008 public consultations Code of Practice, the Local Planning Act 2008, the duty to carry Equality Impact Assessments, the Localism Act and the National Planning Policy Framework – the document also provides a useful engagement template originally developed by Transport for London.
Andrew Hugill, director of policy and technical affairs at CIHT, said: ‘We have produced these new guidelines to provide practical advice and highlight good practice that is available in the highways and transportation sector.
‘It is now considered best practice for transport professionals to act as facilitators of engagement – providing technical guidance, knowledge and advice on schemes.’
The document also has advice on modern engagement methods including social media but also face-to-face tactics to help illicit the most useful and open debate.
It also highlights that the guidance is particularly timely as judicial reviews are becoming increasingly common among a more informed public in response to controversial transport schemes.
The CIHT is currently developing a range of guidelines based on updating elements of the 1997 publication Transport in the Urban Environment to assist professionals in implementing 'Manual for Streets'. The work will be grouped under the overall title of Streets and Transport in the Urban Environment.