US Department of Transportation

FHWA PlanWorks: Better Planning, Better Projects

Implementing the Vision

Activity Area: How will we maintain our vision?

Vision Activities

Within this activity, the practitioner’s responsibility is to establish a framework and process to sustain the vision over time.

Refine implementation strategy – Judging progress through commitment tracking and performance measurement provides direct feedback into reassessment of implementation priorities and strategies. Monitored commitments may be fulfilled and retired, or reassessed and prioritized, depending on the status of implementation.

Example: Tualatin Tomorrow’s Vision Implementation Committee established a structured framework and stakeholder-based partnership to move the vision forward.

Refresh partnerships – Providing motivation to act on a vision, sometimes decades after development, requires that partners are continually reengaged in vision implementation efforts. Strategies to accomplish this include recognition of achievements, collaboration on specific objectives, updates to a component of the vision, and other outreach methods to maintain strong community partnerships.

Example: Since 1997, Envision Coastal Alabama has convened partners to implement the region’s vision, including launching new strategic programs that recognize and communicate partner contributions.

Identify new opportunities – Ongoing environmental scanning and strategy development may help identify new opportunities for the convening organization or for the partnerships developed during the visioning process.

Example: Envision Central’s Texas completed a five year Vision Progress Assessment to understand changes since the regional vision was completed.

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

Providing motivation to act on a vision, sometimes decades after development, requires that partners may need to be continually reengaged in implementation efforts. Strategies to accomplish this include recognition of achievements, collaboration on specific objectives, updates to components of the vision, and other outreach methods to maintain strong community partnerships. Informative tools can be used to engage stakeholders in the performance of the vision and raising awareness of planned updates. Collaborative techniques such as leadership councils, community programs, and elected official groups are effective in developing an update process and refreshing partnerships. Ongoing partnerships and programs also are examples of techniques used to maintain momentum and interest in ongoing efforts.

Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing outreach tools:

How can we refresh partnerships and continue the stakeholder relationships developed?

Are there new stakeholders or partnerships that could be involved in an update process?

How do we maintain stakeholder interest or galvanize participants long after the active public involvement activities of the vision are complete?

Considering Communities

The purpose of this activity area is to provide a starting point for the issues and values that will be the focus of the visioning process. Providing a basis for judgment is important to helping participants fully engage in the tradeoffs, alternatives, impacts, and potential futures assessed further in the process. Indicators should be based on community values and intended to convey statements of direction, value, quality, or progress.

PolicyMap, Geographic Information Systems Mapping Services and Software – This online tool with the capacity to map and report indicators related to demographics, real estate, crime rates, health, schools, housing affordability, employment, energy, public investments, and others. Access The Policy Map.

Neighborhood Walking /Biking Assessment (Urban, Suburban, and Rural) – Three slightly different forms were designed for residents to assess roadway and land use conditions in their neighborhood to determine if it is safe for students to walk and bicycle to school. A small number of questions vary based on the environmental setting in which the assessment is being conducted. Download the tools here for urban, suburban, and rural communities.

Systematic Pedestrian and Cycling Environmental Scan (SPACES) Audit Instrument – A comprehensive instrument that is designed to measure the physical environmental factors that may influence walking and cycling in local neighborhoods. The instrument was developed to be used in combination with additional measures that are gathered through Geographical Information Systems (GIS). For more information see the Active Living Research web site.

Smart Growth Checklist, A Checklist for Municipal Land Use Planning and Management – This guide may be used by communities when making decisions about future land use and development patterns. It is designed to assess how well planning and land use policies and decisions in a community follow the principles of Smart Growth. Access the checklist here.

What's behind Resident Quality of Life Perceptions – This is an online resource that hosts a wealth of information about quality of life considerations, performance measures, and survey instruments. It identifies current initiatives and has a subscription survey service that could be used by a transportation agency or government agencies looking to better understand the environment in which they are working. See more information at the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) web site.

Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey – The survey was designed to be used by state or federal government agencies interested in surveying constituents on social capital, smaller communities that may not have the time, budget, or staff to use the long-form survey, and communities and non-profits that may already be conducting surveys and want the short-form to act as supplemental information on social capital. The survey is designed to be used "pre" and "post" project to determine if social capital has changed. Download the short form or the long form.

Forming Partnerships

Partnership Models – For partners to continue to buy into and act on a vision, sometimes decades after development, requires that partners may need to be reengaged in visioning efforts. Partnerships such as Steering Committees or Technical Advisory Groups are often renewed or established to update components of a vision or to recognize projects. Entirely new organizations or partnership structures may also be continued or spun-off to address specific priorities or projects.

Tracking Commitments

Implementation of the vision and its specific goals and actions needs to be monitored on a regular basis so that any adjustments necessary will be recognized and action taken. Likewise, the action may be modified to ease implementation or the schedule may be adjusted. For example, if the action requires new legislation, the language in the proposed legislation may need to be modified to make it more acceptable or the proposed budget adjusted. A person needs to be identified that is responsible for monitoring implementation and notifying stakeholders of progress and status on a regular basis.

This activity area is related to two steps within the Model Commitment Tracking Process.

Update Priorities/Revise Commitments – The report on commitment progress in the previous activity may identify areas where commitments are not being met or where a commitment needs to be modified. The process champion and stakeholders will determine whether any commitments require revisions upon review of the report on commitment performance. After commitment revisions are identified the lead or other stakeholders will revise any commitments as needed.

Refresh Vision – After the commitments have been revised, the vision lead will then adjust the vision outcomes as necessary. Data gathered during the commitment monitoring process will indicate how goals or objectives may need to shift.