This study was designed to (1) consider the role of public input in the transportation planning process; (2) obtain citizen perceptions of system needs and develop priorities in the state of Kentucky; and (3) use that experience (and the experiences of other states) to provide recommendations for ways to enhance the role of public input in Kentucky’s transportation planning. Telephone survey of Kentucky adults and focus groups of community leaders were utilized to gauge the public’s attitudes and perceptions regarding Kentucky’s transportation needs, issues and priorities, and system satisfaction. The findings from the survey and the focus groups were compared to arrive at a better understanding of the public’s opinion of the state’s transportation system. The findings of this study also lend themselves to recommendations for improving transportation planning in Kentucky. Specifically, they suggest (1) a decentralized project selection process that begins with public input at the district level, followed by (2) statewide public hearings to obtain public input regarding statewide needs and priorities. From a long-term planning perspective, a telephone survey similar to that administered in this study could be undertaken every two years (and supplemented by focus groups as needed), as a way to systematically gather information regarding the public’s perceptions and recommendations.

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The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, nor the Federal Highway Administration.