US Department of Transportation

FHWA PlanWorks: Better Planning, Better Projects

Implementing the Vision

Activity Area: How will we stay on track?

Vision Activities

Within this activity, the practitioner’s responsibility is to maintain relationships, partnerships, and networks, to develop a clear commitment tracking process to ensure accountability, and to reach agreement on a process to continually assess progress.

Maintain public and stakeholder relationships – Recognizing partner and public contributions to the visioning process and communicating opportunities for future involvement is critical to maintaining the vision. Developing post-vision leadership programs, recognition awards, or involvement opportunities are some activities employed to maintain the relationships developed in the previous phase.

Example: Greenville Forward’s implementation efforts include comprehensive follow-up reporting on projects and community indicators.

Develop commitment tracking process – Developing a clear, transparent, adaptable commitment tracking process within the sponsoring organization or within participating public agencies helps ensure that the vision is acted on and any benefits to an agency, such as improved public perception, are maintained.

Example: The Columbia Vision Commission developed a comprehensive commitment and outcome measurement report for vision goals.

Establish measurement process – Reporting progress toward the vision is critical to judging results and establishing priorities for implementation. A measurement process should identify the indicators to be reported, responsibilities for data collection, and a period of consistent measurement moving forward.

Example: The Piedmont Triad Regional Vision Plan includes extensive benchmark indicators to judge progress toward the vision’s goals.

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
Reaching Stakeholders

Recognizing partner and public contributions to the visioning process and communicating opportunities for future involvement is critical to sustaining the vision. Maintaining existing relationships and outreach efforts provides a critical transition from active visioning to implementation efforts. Practitioners may engage lead stakeholders and partner organizations to review action items and to determine responsibility over the execution of various elements of the vision. Collaborative techniques such as meetings with stakeholders are useful to review roles and responsibilities and to continue ongoing interagency and partner coordination established within the visioning process.

Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing outreach tools:

Which stakeholders must be involved in implementation efforts and which stakeholders hold responsibility for future actions?

What are the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders to ensure implementation and evaluate progress?

What partnerships and relationships from the visioning process can be leveraged for implementation efforts?

Considering Communities

In determining how to stay on track, it is important for the practitioner to select from indicators previously identified in the process and can best capture the effects and anticipated changes resulting from implementation of the vision. These metrics should communicate both process steps, such as adoption of the vision by local governments, as well as outcomes, such as building permits aligned with the principles of the vision. For an example from Central Florida, click here.

Forming Partnerships

Partnership Models – Sustaining momentum and partner involvement may be challenging in later stages of a visioning process. Partnership structures may assist in maintaining communication among key partners, through Implementation Committees or other formal models. Informal, broad partnerships such as Citizen Advisory Groups may also morph into other areas or functions, but still provide oversight and public pressure for partners to act on vision objectives. Developing a reliable commitment tracking process also relies on the assistance of partners in developing agreements and guidance on how efforts to advance the vision are tracked and reported. For examples, see the links within the activity area above.

Tracking Commitments

Assign Roles and Responsibility – A specific party should be assigned responsibility for completing each of the commitment actions. Also, no later than this step, a “champion” should be identified who is in charge of tracking commitments at the agency level and who monitors and reports progress and actively communicates and coordinate with stakeholders.

Communicate Commitments to Stakeholders – This step leverages stakeholder relationships established throughout the vision process. Stakeholders should be made aware of the plan for vision implementation through the commitments that have been made. They should be told who is accountable for fulfilling the commitments, and be provided with updates as commitments are completed, or adjusted.