The Link21 Program is a transformational effort that will connect urban and intercity rail throughout the Northern California megaregion, as envisioned by the California State Rail Plan. Link21 will result in a more efficient, affordable and sustainable rail network that will improve quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

HNTB is leading outreach efforts in providing a unique and innovative approach to public involvement for the program that is centered around inclusive and equitable opportunities for meaningful engagement. Using a combination of in-person and virtual public involvement strategies, the team has demonstrated the ability to implement robust, project-specific outreach efforts across the 21-county megaregion.

One such effort is Link21’s co-creation model, an engagement technique in which the program team partners connect with community-based organizations (CBOs) to bring underrepresented stakeholders to the table and provides compensation to both CBOs and participants for their time and expertise. It was during this co-creation process that Link21’s priority populations definition was developed. Priority populations are Link21’s geographic designation of census tracts in the program area that experience the highest levels of inequitable outcomes.

The HNTB Team also introduced its Public Involvement Management Application (PIMA) to enable the program to conduct, manage and evaluate public processes in a centralized location. Using PIMA, the project team can collect and respond to stakeholder feedback, manage stakeholder databases, send large scale project communications, host virtual and in-person public meetings and evaluate outreach efforts through geospatial analytics. This tool helps the project team broaden outreach and make informed decisions considering community needs, concerns and overall sentiment.

In addition, the HNTB Team is driving the deployment of an Engagement and Outreach (E&O) Dashboard to bring robust analytics support to the continuous strategy development of the program’s public outreach. Built as a companion application to PIMA, the dashboard consists of automated processes to combine demographic census data and priority population information with engagement data and stakeholder locations, to provide rich engagement statistics for the program team and client. The goal of the dashboard is to provide transparent, data-driven and up-to-date data to create an effective outreach strategy.

Location: Bay Area, CA

Client: Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)/Capital Corridor Joint Powers Authority

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