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For immediate release - May 22, 2008

Public Involvement Strategies and Objectives

LEESBURG –The Lake~Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has set in motion the major update for the Lake County 2020 Transit Development Plan (TDP). The MPO considers transit as a major factor in everyone’s future mobility options and this Plan will set the stage for future investments in transit.

One of the first steps involved is the analysis of current conditions and public attitudes on transit; the MPO has developed a Public Involvement Plan specifically for the TDP update.

A number of strategies designed to encourage public involvement have been included in the public involvement process for the major TDP update.

Stakeholder Interviews: To gather in-depth information from key stakeholders and community leaders regarding a specific topic using a pre-determined set of questions to help guide discussion.

Transit Passenger Surveys: To solicit involvement and participation from transit riders; to distribute pertinent information on public transit and specific project-related information; to receive public input to incorporate into the decision-making process.

Transit Operator Surveys: To utilize transit operator knowledge and daily interaction with passengers to obtain insight into the passenger’s experience, verify input received from passengers, and provide important information related to the operation and safety of the bus routes and vehicles.

Public Workshops: Inform the public of ongoing projects, receive public input, and inform the public of additional public involvement opportunities.

Discussion Groups: Gather information regarding the attitudes and opinions of a small group of individuals through both a specific set of questions and open-ended discussion between participants.

Online and web based surveys: Increased public access to key to good planning.

The attached flyer announces the first 4 of 12 public workshops to be held throughout the County.

Public transportation is a critical part of America’s future. Transit ridership is increasing dramatically – primarily because federal and state investments in transit have made it possible to offer higher quality service. The public clearly values public transit: in the last five years, transit use is on the rise. In 2000 a majority of people polled link public transportation to improved quality of life, believing that increased public investment in public transportation strengthens the economy, creates jobs, reduces traffic congestion and air pollution, and saves energy.

The tremendous growth in traffic congestion means extra costs for business – higher wages and benefits to recruit workers, shorter workdays, increased absenteeism, and greater employee turnover and transportation assistance. Business is recognizing that travel mobility is a key quality of life issue for its labor force. Transit provides another economic boost to business by removing autos from the highway system, thereby maintaining roadway capacity for the shipment of goods and materials

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Media contact:
Communications Department
Public Information Officer
Office: 352-343-9603; Cell: 352-455-0445
klafollette@lakecountyfl.gov