Before 2020 comes to a close, the team at MetroQuest would like to take some time to thank YOU for your hard work and support throughout this unprecedented year. Your work in community engagement has become more important, yet more challenging than ever this year. We appreciate your commitment to making the planning world a better place!
Before our team takes some time off for the holidays, we wanted to share some of our favorite things that happened in 2020!
Getting Creative with Virtual Get-Togethers
This year, we were very excited to reconnect with our friends at DOTs from across the United States for our second ever DOT Roundtable! We heard from the MetroQuest team, as well as from Texas DOT, about some of the things they’ve been working on during this unprecedented year and were inspired by their creativity and resilience.
We also heard from several public engagement superstars over the last few months, as we all put our heads together to come up with the strategies that would bring community engagement forward. Take a look at our webinar page for some of the latest. Each one is eligible for AICP CM credit!
I definitely recommend Community Engagement During COVID-19: Planning Ahead for 2021. Public engagement specialists from WSP and North Carolina DOT predict what public outreach looks like moving forward and share leading techniques and tools to guide planning teams to success. It’s a great place to start planning for the new year!
Important Conversations Around Diversity and Equity
Conversations and protests around equity, particularly Black Lives Matter and Indigenous rights, took the spotlight this summer. For planning, the vital topics of diversity and inclusive engagement took on new urgency in light of this! And with updated NEPA regulations coming into effect in September, there was a lot to talk about.
To support efforts in this area, we put together a panel of key members of the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJ IWG) and its NEPA Committee. Our speakers showed us some of the promising practices for reaching traditionally underrepresented communities and provided an update on the rapidly evolving practice of meaningful engagement with EJ communities. Thank you to the panel and all our attendees for helping us to take on this important topic!
Exploring New Projects to Inspire Planners
This year, we were able to introduce the ‘Survey of the Month’, a monthly blog series that highlights exceptional online surveys! Our Customer Experience Manager, Norma Hogan, worked together with our subscribers to find and to showcase examples of exceptional community engagement, inspiring planning teams with tips to achieve incredible results online.
Some of the projects we’ve highlighted include a Long Range Transportation Plan in Northeastern Pennsylvania, a very unique ‘Rail to Trial’ feasibility study with Virginia DOT, a corridor plan study, a downtown improvement project and more to come! We’re delightfully surprised every month by the amazing projects from planners across the US.
Team MetroQuest Appreciation
Although work culture has changed a lot (some say that work-from-home is here to stay), we at MetroQuest were able to stay in touch over the year by taking advantage of some of the same virtual meetings options that planners have been using during the pandemic… and getting a little creative.
The MetroQuest cookbook was a labor of love from our social committee, and we’re thankful and excited to see what the team will ‘cook up’ moving forward!
Our team has had the privilege of working with countless thought leaders, industry experts and community engagement superstars this year. We hope that our conversations and resources from 2020 have inspired you and look forward to many new and exciting opportunities in the New Year.
Thank you for making this challenging year a great one!