Date of Award

1997

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Community Planning

First Advisor

Farhad Atash

Abstract

This project analyzed a regional transportation planning process in Southeastern Connecticut. For two years, the Multi-Modal Advisory Committee (known as the MAC) met, under the direction of a transportation consultant and a facilitator, to address the region 's traffic congestion. Specifically, their efforts comprised a Major Investment Study (MIS) which is a predecessor to an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The MAC's goal was to reach consensus on which transportation alternatives the consultant should further study in the EIS. This group did not reach consensus.

The study looked at two types of factors that may have affected the outcome of the MAC: internal factors and external factors. Internal factors are those which occurred during the process. This entailed an analysis of the groups' common understanding of the problem and objectives, the groups' defined expectations, member's participation, and the role of the project team. The study found that the MAC lacked agreement on the problem at hand and on many aspects of the process. Additionally, the facilitator and project team did not appear to respond accordingly to address these problems.

To assess the effects of external factors, the study analyzed the history of regional cooperation in the study area, regional capacity, power, local politics, and public influence on the process. The findings indicated that a lack of power and funding discouraged the members of the MAC. Also, the group could not separate other problems in the region from the process.

The project concludes with recommendations for Southeastern Connecticut and future transportation planning processes. More time should be spent on clarifying the details during the process, such as definitions, evaluation criteria, and the scope of solutions to be considered. Despite the failure of the MAC to reach consensus, though, the MAC did offer an opportunity for the region to collaborate on a pressing transportation issue.

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