Community Connectors

Tools for advocates

Community Connectors: Tools for advocates

Transportation for America’s Community Connectors portal provides tools and information for advocates to decode the complex and confusing maze of programs, acronyms, and decision points that determine what gets built with federal and state transportation dollars.

Who actually chooses how federal transportation dollars get spent? Did you know USDOT has almost no say on the divisive new highways being built through your community? What are the outdated measures and standards states use to justify expensive new highways? Why are communities still being divided and damaged by roads and other infrastructure? And how can advocates get engaged to connect them?

Dive into the content

This Community Connectors portal is our evolving tool for explaining 1) Who is involved, 2) How the process unfolds, and 3) What DOTs really mean when they say ___, and then sharing 4) Real world stories from advocates—both successes and looming challenges.

Click on any graphic or title to explore each of these four areas, or right on a bulleted item to dive right in.

Explaining the actors

Who has control over the hundreds of billions in federal and state transportation dollars for transportation projects? Who are the entities involved in spending this money? Who are the agencies involved in making the decisions? Start here to find out more about the people you need to know: who is involved.

Demystifying the process

How does transportation money get spent? Where does the money come from? What things can federal transportation money be spent on? Start here to find out more about the process: how it happens.

Decoding common terms

Transportation engineers, planners, and decision makers often bury advocates in a sea of jargon and acronyms, accompanied by an explicit message that you can’t possibly understand things well enough to suggest a different path. Start here to learn about the obscure, complex measures and models that have incredible influence over what gets built and where: things DOTs say.

Advocate stories

“Community Connectors” all across the country are fighting divisive, destructive, and unaffordable freeway expansions, advancing projects to remove old highways, making wide, dangerous arterial roads a little safer for people to cross, or just improving basic infrastructure people depend on each day. These battles are won and lost—often on the same project. Read a growing list of profiles our team is producing about these stories.

Stories of success

Community Connectors hard at work

Challenges and learning opportunities

Community Connectors: tools for advocates

You may be fighting against a freeway expansion. You may be trying to advance a Reconnecting Communities project to remove an old highway. You might be just trying to make wide, dangerous arterial roads a little safer for people to cross. This Community Connectors portal explains common terms, decodes the processes, clarifies the important actors, and inspires with helpful real-world stories.

Thank you

We are grateful to support from the Summit Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their support of various pieces of this ongoing project.