Title page for ETD etd-05232006-130108

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Stich, Bethany Marie
Author's Email Address bstich@vt.edu
URN etd-05232006-130108
Title Community Visioning in Long-Range Transportation Planning: A Case Study of Virginia
Degree PhD
Department Public Administration and Public Affairs
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Wamsley, Gary L. Committee Chair
Dudley, Larkin S. Committee Member
Morcol, Goktug Committee Member
Pethtel, Ray D. Committee Member
Wolf, James F. Committee Member
  • Community Visioning
  • Transportation Planning
  • Participatory Democracy
Date of Defense 2006-05-05
Availability unrestricted

This research is an evaluation of the addition of a citizen involvement process that has come to be known as “visioning” or “community visioning” to the traditional process of developing a state’s transportation plan, a process which has typically been very much an in-government and esoteric province of professionals in transportation planning. The research specifically focuses on the Commonwealth of Virginia and its addition of three citizen participation components the Commonwealth labeled “community visioning” to the traditional transportation planning process. The research examines the three components of “community visioning” with regard to: (1) their impact on the state’s transportation plan (VTrans2025); (2) the degree to which they met the expectations of the regulations and best practices requirements of federal oversight; (3) the degree to which they met the expectations of the advocates of visioning and of more “democratic participation” in pubic administrative and policy processes; and (4) the degree to which they could affect the final outcome of transportation policy.

Visioning is a relatively new approach to citizen involvement in the planning process. It places the citizen involvement at the beginning of the process instead of the end. Visioning asks citizens key questions about what they envision as a positive future for their community. The purpose or goal of this new visioning is to have the final plans reflect the vision drawn from the citizens and public officials and reached through consensus.

This dissertation determined that Virginia put forth a good faith effort to involve citizens of the Commonwealth. Collectively, the citizen involvement activities in VA’s visioning process were reasonable and meaningful. Additionally, Virginia’s vision statement was heavily influenced by the citizen participation activities. However, there are three aspects of Virginia’s vision that are troubling from an implementation standpoint. In short, this dissertation found that the vision is what the people want, but the comprehensive plan does not tell the citizens how the Commonwealth intends on achieving that vision.

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