How Compensating Participants Can Improve Public Engagement on Infrastructure Projects

Katie Caskey Explores Evolving Guidance on Compensation for Public Engagement in Experts Talk Interview

Katie Caskey biography photo
Katie Caskey

Traditional methods of public engagement on infrastructure projects can fail to include all voices, a reality that has prompted increased interest in the idea of compensating participants to ensure more meaningful and inclusive public involvement. This approach helps remove barriers to participation, allowing diverse perspectives to influence project outcomes, which can lead to smoother, more widely supported projects. Despite logistical hurdles, the strategy shows promise in enhancing the effectiveness and equity of public engagement.

HDR Senior Strategic Communications Consultant Katie Caskey has spent more than a decade in public engagement for transportation projects, including leading engagement efforts that used compensation strategies to improve public participation. In the latest from HDR’s Experts Talk interview series, she explains why public involvement compensation is receiving more attention now, addresses some of the challenges in implementing the strategy and explains how it can be a powerful tool for gathering previously overlooked input on infrastructure projects.

“One reason the idea of compensation has been getting more attention is a recent USDOT guide for equitable public involvement that detailed strategies in this space,” Caskey said. “One of the bigger things it clarified is that federal funds can be used for compensating participants in public involvement, which wasn’t clear in the past. That seal of approval has prompted more interest from agencies.”

HDR’s Experts Talk interview series shines a light on various aspects of transportation infrastructure design and delivery. Each subject matter expert offers unique expertise and insights about new and ongoing trends, emerging technologies and the human side of infrastructure.

Read the whole interview on community compensation during public engagement

About HDR
HDR is a 100% employee-owned professional services firm. Founded over a century ago to bring electricity to a changing world, we are now a global company specializing in architecture, engineering, environmental and construction services. Our success in built and natural environments continues as we collaborate to solve our clients’ and communities’ most complex challenges. 

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