Community engagement promotes meaningful outcomes on Florida’s infrastructure projects

June 29, 2023

At EXP, we believe community engagement facilitates community ownership and enables better project outcomes. With over 115 years in the transportation industry, we understand the processes needed to successfully engage our communities for input, meaningful collaboration and stakeholder consensus.

“In a world where information is rapid and abundant, our team collaborates with clients to safeguard the needs of those directly impacted by transportation infrastructure. The delivery of reliable and consistent information offers more opportunities to integrate public feedback into a project’s decision-making process, as feedback is a valuable benchmark for social, economic and environmental impacts,” said Community Outreach Unit Manager Maggie Bruno. “Through public outreach initiatives, regardless of project size, cost and scale, we can ensure a communities’ best interests are acknowledged and taken into consideration,” Maggie continued.

Public and private sectors have adopted processes to enhance public participation over time and through the entire lifecycle of a project. Community engagement and outreach have commonly only covered public meetings and printed material. Through coordination among our multidisciplinary experts and consultants, EXP’s community engagement team delivers a diverse suite of outreach strategies, facilitating public consumption and understanding. Their expertise spans branding, creative development, advertising, public relations, multimedia, digital engagement, social media and more.

Community engagement in Florida

To encourage community ownership in various counties throughout Florida, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) enables robust community engagement initiatives. For multiple bridge and road projects in FDOT’s District 6, including Monroe County, EXP’s Community Engagement team is integrating the community’s involvement in restoration and rehabilitation projects of SR A1A/South Roosevelt Boulevard from Bertha Street to Smathers Beach and SR 5/Key West/Whitehead Street from Fleming Street to Truman Avenue. These projects incorporate various elements of resurfacing, restoration or rehabilitation including repaving, new signage and pedestrian improvements and modernizations. Within each phase, EXP’s Community Outreach Specialist Julie Brown utilized a variety of community outreach tactics. Community input is central to future assessments of safety, mitigating delays, frequency of status updates and lessons learned for future projects. To connect with communities on SR A1A and SR5, as well as various ongoing projects, EXP’s community engagement experts provide frequent project updates including temporary lane closures, flaggers to control traffic and access to businesses to minimize disruption.

EXP’s team was awarded FDOT’s District 7 Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Support Services contract. EXP will provide the delivery of modernized infrastructure improvements and facilitate community engagement and outreach opportunities for the Florida regional transportation system. “The key to success on many projects is engaging the community to enable the flow of reliable information to build and foster public trust. Each project has its unique challenges and opportunities, and our role is to create an open highway of information between the public, stakeholders and our clients,” said Maggie Bruno.

The goal of community engagement is to work directly with the public to enhance the decision-making process from all angles. Members of the public have valuable and historical information about their communities and can positively influence implementation schedules, funding and metrics for success. “To acquire all the critical information about a project’s impact and long-term results is why we involve our community engagement professionals throughout a project. The public’s ability to engage with technical professionals and clients to understand the project is crucial for a project’s implementation,” said Vice President, Transportation Jose Clavell.

Learn more about EXP’s community engagement team here.

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