US Department of Transportation

FHWA PlanWorks: Better Planning, Better Projects

Creating the Vision

Activity Area: Adopt Future(s)

Vision Activities

Common to any visioning processes is the creation, selection, and recognition of a preferred future, or set of futures. This Key Decision is often accomplished first by soliciting the approval of stakeholders through involvement techniques, followed with formal adoption by leadership of the sponsoring organization or partners. It is this formal adoption step that enables transfer of the vision’s preferred future, or futures, into related strategic planning efforts.

Within this activity, the practitioner’s responsibility is to finalize value, goal, and principle statements in support of the vision; to document, communicate, and distribute the final vision outcome; and to provide guidance on priorities and responsibilities to move the vision into implementation stages.

Revise goals and guiding principles – Matching community goals identified earlier to the preferred future(s) developed establishes the path forward in the visioning process. Values, goals, issues, and principles may be aligned with the consensus alternatives in order to provide guidance on the priority issues to be identified in the vision and acted upon during implementation. This iterative process allows for public input and consensus building in preparation of the communication of the outcomes of the vision.

Examples: The Community Vision for the Aspen Area links vision statements with policy themes to provide direction for implementing the vision.

Describe vision outcome – Developing a unified, concise statement of vision, or supporting vision outcomes helps achieve the purpose of strategic visioning – to provide broad, long-term guidance. Communication of the final vision outcomes to participants, to stakeholders and partners, to the media and other interested parties may be an important component of this activity.

Examples: Cumberland Region Tomorrow developed a series of guiding tenants to express the region’s vision, while the Capital District Transportation Committee’s New Vision’s process resulted in 31 adopted principles for decision-making.

Establish implementation priorities – Moving from vision to reality requires attainable goals, actionable objectives, and measurable outcomes. With the momentum of crafting the shared vision, the roles and responsibilities of partners may be identified, working groups established, and resources dedicated toward implementation. These activities provide the framework for handing off the vision into the implementation track.

Example: The City Council of Austin, Texas strategically defines policy priorities and budget initiatives to achieve the city vision.

The research report for the Vision Guide contains extensive information about reaching stakeholders and tools that support stakeholder engagement. See Linking Community Visioning and Highway Capacity Planning in the PlanWorks Library Reports.

Visioning Components
Name Tools & Resources