April 19, 2023


12:00pm - 1:00pm

Contact Hours


Location Online - Course

One Hour Webinar


The Virginia LTAP, in partnership with the Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC), the research leg of VDOT, invite you to join us for a one-hour lunch and learn event. This new series will showcase VTRC’s transportation innovation and research.

These monthly, one-hour events will take place at various locations across the Commonwealth from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. You may join remotely via Zoom or attend in-person. Lunch will be provided for those who attend in-person. Those attending in-person will also receive some swag.

Topic:  Virtual Public Involvement (12:00 – 1:00)

Traditional public information meetings (PIMs) are often not well attended, feedback is sparse, and participation can be limited to special interest groups.  Adding virtual public involvement (VPI) techniques extends the reach of engagement strategies by making stakeholder participation more convenient, affordable, and even enjoyable.

The effects of COVID-19 on public gatherings has shed light on a more immediate need to explore VPI opportunities.  Although meeting the challenges of conducting business during a public health crisis is important, VPI provides an opportunity even beyond public health crises, to consistently reach a broader, more diverse audience and provide a different approach to traditional public involvement in transportation.

MetroQuest is one virtual public input platform VDOT is utilizing for PIMs and engagement efforts have led to higher levels of public participation than has previously been the case.  The impacts of using such VPI platforms in terms of data on market penetration, participation, demographics, and agency cost-savings is not well understood.  The purpose of this project was to assess the role of VPI in VDOT’s business practices, examine its potential to reach a broader public, and document lessons learned for improved efficacy.  VDOT’s Transportation and Mobility Planning Division and the Communications Division will use the results of this study to promote VPI and to develop outreach strategies and guidance to VDOT districts.  The findings may also be useful for localities and MPOs/PDCs that seek to broaden public outreach through virtual mechanisms.

Topic:  Improving Transit Ridership Projections (12:30 – 1:00)

Transit ridership data is one of the performance metrics examined when allocating funding to transportation projects, especially for those designed to reduce traffic congestion. The better the quality of the data, the more efficient the project prioritization process.

This study aimed to seek better ridership data by answering the following three questions using Virginia-based data: (1) How is transit ridership affected by changes to infrastructure and transit service such as the addition of real-time information systems, shelters, and lighting or increases to service frequency? (2) What percentage of transit ridership occurs during peak hours? (3) How does crowdsourced transit activity data compare to ridership data from Virginia transit agencies? Study methods involved extensive literature reviews, collection of ridership data from transit agencies, and statistical analyses. The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation can use the results of this study to update and improve the current project prioritization process for proposed bus and rail transit projects, which could consequently lead to more efficient funding allocation.

VTRC is one of the nation’s leading transportation research centers and specializes in basic and applied research to support VDOT, its primary customer.  It also provides technical consulting and training of future transportation professionals through its work with the University of Virginia  and other Virginia universities.  VDOT recognizes research s one of its core businesses, a rarity for a state transportation department. This means VDOT will develop and deliver a robust transportation research program that results in saving lives, saving time and saving money.


Topic:  Virtual Public Involvement
Speaker:  Lance Dougald
Time: 30 minutes (12:00 – 12:30)

Topic:  Improving Transit Ridership Projections
Speaker:  Peter Ohlms and Afrida Raida
Time: 30 minutes (12:30 – 1:00)


Lance Dougald

Lance Dougald is an associate principal research scientist at VTRC.  He has been involved in transportation research for 25 years and has over 40 research publications with emphasis areas in traffic engineering and transportation planning. He received his master’s degree in civil engineering at the University of Virginia and is a member of ASCE’s Transportation and Development Institute’s Safety Committee.

Peter Ohlms

Peter Ohlms, AICP, is a senior research scientist at VTRC. He holds a Master of Regional Planning degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a civil engineering degree from the University of Virginia. Current and recent research has examined multimodal innovations, transit ridership projections, prioritization practices for curb ramps, road diets, bike boxes, statewide bicycle and pedestrian counting programs, and a pedestrian- and bicycle-alert system for transit buses.

Afrida Raida

Afrida Raida is a Graduate Research Assistant at VTRC and a graduate student in Civil Engineering at the University of Virginia. Her research interests are in integrated multi-modal transportation, with her research so far focusing on public transit and safety of e-scooters.

Who Should Attend

State and local transportation planners, MPOs/PDCs, civil rights and public engagement officials

Registration and Payment

The following registration fees cover the session, all course materials and meals:

No Charge

Click here for UVA TTA's general registration information, cancellation policy, and refund policy. UVA TTA accepts the following credit cards: American Express, VISA, MasterCard, and Discover. Credit card information cannot be taken over the phone. Alternatively, after registering you can print out a voucher to send in with your payment. After you have completed the transaction you will receive an automatically generated email confirming registration and payment if applicable. Final confirmation and instructions will be sent out during the week prior to the class date.