NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University expert on transportation equity has received a grant worth more than $123,000 from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to conduct public involvement outreach efforts for the state.
Dr. Kimberly L. Triplett, assistant professor of Urban Studies, and a team of experts from the University of Memphis, will work with TDOT planning staff in each of the agency’s four regions to coordinate with community and neighborhood leaders, and design and plan citizen workshops, as well as recruit actively engaged participants willing to share their knowledge with others in the community.
According to Triplett, who is also an expert on urban planning and policy, the goal is to identify innovative techniques that make it easier for citizens to participate in transportation decision-making.
“Our aim is to develop methods of information sharing that most effectively communicate transportation in such a way that citizens understand the importance of their role in the process,” Triplett said. “We also aim to develop venues and communication strategies that are most likely to engage these citizens in a productive manner.”
The new one-year grant, which runs through November 2014, is the second for a community-engagement project the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs has received in less than three months. In September, the college received a $100,000 federal grant to incorporate fair housing education and research into the Urban Studies curriculum, as well as partner with state, local government and nonprofit organizations to promote fair housing.
“This (transportation) grant will enhance the development of new strategies that facilitate minority and low-income citizens participation in the process of transportation public policy making,” said Dr. Michael Harris, dean of CPSUA, about the new grant. “Dr. Triplett and the team from the Tennessee Department of Transportation will engage citizens while enhancing the learning experience for our students and utilizing our research capacities. We are delighted to make our expertise available to serve and engage.”
In addition to two professors from the University of Memphis, who are co-project investigators on the project, Triplett said one TSU student, an Urban Studies major, will be part of the research team.
“This project is going to put TSU in a unique light about how we engage the community and citizens in planning and arriving at decisions that directly affect them,” Triplett said.
“This grant continues to build on our College relevant mission and strategic focus. We strive to use learning and research to make a difference in our communities, government and non-for-profits,” Dean Harris added.
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