Community Outreach

Background

OKI is committed to securing active and representational participation from all segments of the community in its transportation planning and decision-making process. In line with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), OKI’s public involvement efforts prioritize public outreach, especially Environmental Justice and Justice 40 communities. We view comprehensive, strategic stakeholder outreach and public involvement essential to the success of the 2050 Metropolitan Transportation Plan. As such, a separate participation plan was developed at the onset and implemented over the course of the yearlong 2050 Plan Update.

Overview and Objectives

  • In a timely manner, clearly communicate the draft content and progress updates of the plan to stakeholders and the public so community members can easily understand and participate.
  • Provide ample and varied opportunities for stakeholders and the public to engage with the plan and provide feedback.
  • Solicit comments on proposed projects.
  • Give thoughtful consideration and careful response to all public comments received.
  • Conduct outreach to traditionally underserved communities and solicit meaningful engagement and input.
  • Reach community members who have previously engaged with OKI’s long range plan in addition to those who have not engaged before to maximize public participation.

Environmental Justice (EJ)

In 1994, President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 12898 (E.O. 12898) to ensure that federal funds are used fairly and without discrimination. In 2003, OKI adopted a policy for Environmental Justice that has been incorporated into the OKI Participation Plan. This policy expands OKI’s efforts to involve the public in its transportation decision-making. It also adds provisions for assessing the equity of transportation investments in its eight-county region. The policy is focused on intensifying OKI’s outreach efforts, particularly as it relates to Minority and Low-Income population groups, as well as the Elderly, Individuals with Disabilities and Zero-Car households. OKI established its EJ Advisory Committee in 2000.

As a two-step process, the definition of target groups and areas involves first identifying the general distribution of each EJ population group. Second, the regional concentration of each group is defined. If the concentration of an EJ population group meets or exceeds 50 percent of the regional average and has an EJ population of more than 250 individuals, the EJ population is part of a target group and area.

Justice40

In the spirit of the USDOT Justice40 Initiative, OKI will ensure outreach to disadvantaged communities to address transportation insecurity, environmental burdens, social vulnerability, health vulnerability, and climate and disaster risk burdens.

2050 Plan Stakeholders

OKI will conduct outreach to key stakeholders and community groups to communicate updates to the 2050 Plan. OKI has identified the following stakeholder groups as key to the public participation process for the 2050 Plan Update. This list is not exhaustive and will continue to grow.

  • Cincinnati community councils
  • Local chambers of commerce
  • OKI Board of Directors
  • OKI Intermodal Coordinating Committee (ICC)
  • OKI Environmental Justice (EJ) Advisory Committee Members
  • OKI Tristate Transportation Equitable Opportunity Team (TTEOT)
  • Past grant recipients
  • Transit agencies
  • Bicycle and pedestrian advocacy groups
  • Local freight industry representatives
  • Private and not-for-profit transportation providers
communications team interacting

Strategies

  • Stakeholder Partnerships: Leverage new and existing partnerships with nonprofit and government organizations that will expand the audience and reach people who are likely to engage with the plan.
  • Email Communications: Maintain and grow existing email database to use for progress updates.
  • Consistent Digital Presence: Use social media, website and other digital platforms to spread awareness.
  • News and Media: Conduct outreach to local news and media outlets on major milestones and public participation opportunities to amplify reach to the public.
  • Survey the Public: Part of the 2050 Update’s public input will consist of soliciting responses to at least one survey to gauge transportation preferences and priorities of the public. Our survey results are completed.

Tactics

Tactics that will be used to achieve the objectives of the 2050 Plan, the parties responsible for implementation and anticipated timing are outlined below. Updates will be made as needed to keep tactics in line with the plan’s development to ensure public involvement.

Stakeholder Database

OKI staff developed and managed a stakeholder database for the plan’s update., The database included contact information for individuals representing key stakeholder groups, Environmental Justice organizations as well as other business and civic organizations. This included citizens-at-large that have participated in past OKI plans and studies as interested members of the public.

OKI Member Presentations

Various modes of communication were used to update OKI members. This included monthly presentations on the Plan’s status to the ICC and Executive Committee and Board.

Social Media

OKI staff prepared and posted project information and updates through OKI social media channels (Facebook and Twitter)

Media Relations

OKI coordinated media relations efforts to convey information about the 2050 Plan as it progressed. Media relations efforts include:

  • Providing project background information to reporters at key media outlets..
  • Sharing the dates, times and locations of public involvement meetings,
  • Including legal ads publicizing public meetings were distributed at least 14 days prior to meeting dates

Public Survey

OKI surveyed the public to learn greatest transportation needs and concerns. It was accessible online at oki.org, and on social media. Staff promoted the survey across a variety of channels to engage stakeholders to complete the survey.

Over 2,200 surveys were submitted and staff considered along with the Planning Assumptions data and input from OKI members, to develop the draft project list

Environmental Consultations

OKI Staff engaged state and local officials involved with environmental protection about how best to avoid the potential environmental impacts of transportation planning. 

Public Involvement Meetings and/or Events

OKI staff continued to engage the public with the following activities:

  • Attendance at Community Council meetings
  • Messages and updates sent via email to stakeholders, EJ organizations and other interested parties
  • Social Media posts

2050 Plan Update Survey Results Summary

The 2050 Plan Update survey was online from Dec. 20, 2023, to Feb. 29, 2024. There were 2,232 respondents who either live or work in the OKI region. Of these, 55% of respondents live and work in the same county.

The primary mode of transportation for 82% of respondents is driving a vehicle alone, with another 6% primarily carpooling with others. Transportation modes other than driving a vehicle are most prevalent among respondents from Hamilton County and least common among respondents from Dearborn County. Of respondents who indicated active transportation methods (bike or walk), 78% are residents of Hamilton County and 73% live and work in the same county.

When asked to consider top factors influencing transportation habits, responses varied by primary transportation mode. Across all modes, reliability and travel time were important considerations. Transit riders are more sensitive to cost as a factor. And cyclists are the group most influenced by the environmental sustainability of their transportation.

Surprisingly, 62% of respondents who primarily drive would prefer to drive less or not own a car. There is a range of preferences, with a high of 85% among respondents from Hamilton County.

We also see that younger respondents are more likely to prefer to drive less or not own a vehicle.

Respondents shared their top concerns about transportation in the OKI region in the next 25 years. Traffic congestion and lack of public transportation are the top two concerns by a wide margin. Lack of public transportation is the top concern for respondents who live in Hamilton and Kenton counties, while traffic congestion is the top concern for all other residents.

OKI logo

OKI’s Organization Structure

Independent of OKI’s Public Participation Plan, the public is involved in decision making through provisions in OKI’s organizational structure. OKI was established as a public, non-profit organization under the Ohio Revised Code. Agency structure, responsibilities and authority are described in the OKI Articles of Agreement. The structure of OKI includes four standing committees that involve public officials and others in the development of plans, programs and policy adoption. The 2050 Plan will provide updates and engage the members of the following, standing OKI committees throughout the Update:

  • Board of Directors
  • Executive Committee
  • Intermodal Coordinating Committee (ICC)
  • Environmental Justice Committee (EJ)

2050 OKI Plan Update – OKI Staff

The 2050 Metropolitan Transportation Plan Update is an agency-wide effort with many contributions from our staff. The project manager is deputy director, Robert Koehler with Suzanne Parkey as lead web designer and developer. Senior Communications Specialist Jim Pickering along with CEO Mark R. Policinski led the editing process.

Following is a list of contributing staff: (Contact information Is available on the our main website’s OKI Team page).

Mark Policinski – Chief Executive Officer
Robert Koehler – Deputy Executive Director
Robyn Bancroft, AICP – Strategic Initiatives Manager
Regina Fields – Project Administrator
Toni Gleason – Sr. Accountant
Katie Hannum – Director of Finance
Jake Hesseling – Manager of Communications and Legislative Affairs
Shonda Jones – Financial Assistant
Summer Jones – Transportation Alternatives Coordinator
Andy Meyer, AICP – Senior Planner for Land Use
Travis Miller, ASLA – Regional Planning Manager
Margaret Minzner, GISP – Senior Environmental Planner
Jenny Newcomb – Digital Media Specialist
Elizabeth Niese, Ph.D. – Data Analyst
Jessica Ondrovic, CHRM-SCP – Human Resources Manager
Michael Outrich, AICP – Senior Planner and Demographer

Jersson Pachar – Traffic Engineering Technician
Florence Parker – Environmental Justice/Public Involvement Specialist
Suzanne Parkey, CPSM – Sr. Digital Communications Strategist
Jim Pickering – Senior Communication Specialist
Lorrie Platt – Executive Assistant & Board Administrator
Brett Porter, AICP – Senior Transportation Planner
Andy Reser, AICP – Manager of Transportation Programming
David Rutter – Senior Environmental Planner
Jackson Shiffert – GIS Developer
David Shuey, GISP – Director of Information Systems & Analytics
Timothy Stautberg – Accountant
Rachel Stuckey – GIS Specialist
Gabriela Waesch – GIS Analyst
Hui Xie – Senior Engineer/Senior Planner
Dr. Liren Zhou, Ph.D. – Manager of Transportation Modeling
Ting Zuo, Ph.D. – Sr. Transportation Analyst / Programmer

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