Stakeholder Collaboration


Example from Practice

Minnesota DOT used selected key decisions to work collaboratively with stakeholders and successfully design a Complete Streets Plan for the City of Grand Rapids.

Learn more about how PlanWorks helped.

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Transportation decisions often exhibit breakthroughs when decision makers engage collaboratively with those outside the process who are interested in and affected by the outcome. Those cases that are most successful are often proactive in working with all stakeholders, including potential opponents, early in the process. Close collaboration with the community to meet an array of needs beyond transportation improvements is another key to successful outcomes. The inclusion of multi-modal options, additional enhancement features, or innovative solutions often results in broad acceptance by all those involved.

How can stakeholder collaboration help identify risks and avoid delays?
If stakeholders are not involved collaboratively in transportation decision making, there is an increased risk that the best decision will not be made, and ultimately the improvement will be slowed or stopped. Much of the success described in specific case study examples can be attributed to the identification and management of key risks. Specific approaches used to effectively manage risks include:

  • Anticipating environmental and social issues - The involvement of stakeholders in the planning and project development stages makes it possible to mitigate risks by finding a "fatal flaw" early in the process.
  • Anticipating public concerns - A goal of any risk management plan is to minimize surprises. This is especially true when it comes to communicating with the public.
How can PlanWorks help with stakeholder collaboration?

The Stakeholder Collaboration application identifies the points in the decision making process where there should be a flow of information between decision makers and stakeholders. The Decision Guide also provides questions decision makers should ask to gather information from stakeholders and questions to incorporate their interests.

The Decision Guide image below highlights the decision points where collaboration should occur with stakeholders. Specific questions have been developed for each of these decision points to generally determine:

  • What feedback did we get from stakeholders?
  • What stakeholder feedback are we missing?
  • Are there conflicts among the stakeholder feedback or between the stakeholder feedback and our technical data?
  • Should we change our decision based on the feedback? Why or why not?

In a collaborative relationship, once a decision has been made, stakeholders need to be given feedback surrounding the "what, when, why, how and who" of the decision. The Decision Guide reinforces this type of relationship in the questions that decision makers consider.

The Decision Guide provides detailed information on the individual key decisions at which these processes are integrated. Explore the graphic below to learn about this relationship:

  • Hover over the highlighted key decisions to understand the specific relationship of stakeholder collaboration to the decision.
  • Click on any highlighted key decision for more information concerning stakeholder collaboration and this decision. You will find useful information in the "Data" and "Integrated Planning" tabs.

Key Decisions that are grayed-out have no specific relevance to the individual application or topic area but are still accessible from this graphic.