News & Insights

Rail-Volution Podcast: An Inclusive Approach to Community Engagement

Kimley-Horn’s Mary Kate Morookian talks with community organizer, Aidil Ortiz about their partnership to revamp the Durham Transit Plan.

Mary Kate Morookian

Mary Kate Morookian

Transit Planner

When Kimley-Horn started working with a multi-agency team including the City of Durham, Durham County, the Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro MPO, GoTriangle, and GoDurham to revamp the Durham Transit Plan, it was clear that the community’s ideas and priorities for transit improvements needed to be heard.

Kimley-Horn’s transportation experts partnered with community organizer Aidil Ortiz, of Aidilisms, to create an inclusive and equitable engagement strategy with the help of Engagement Ambassadors. Ambassadors either had access to, or were part of communities with the largest need for transit who have been historically marginalized in other decision-making processes. Intentionally seeking out input from these groups and prioritizing their feedback has helped shape the final plan with innovative and meaningful collaboration between planning staff, consultants, and community.

Listen to the episode to learn more about how inclusive community feedback influenced decision making and resulted in a plan that will serve the needs of the community members in the ways they need it most.

About the Expert

Mary Kate Morookian

Mary Kate Morookian

Mary Kate has more than ten years of experience working with both local and regional transit service providers, including GoTriangle in the Raleigh-Durham area and New Jersey Transit. She specializes in the development of long- and short-range transit operations plans and believes in a holistic approach to transit planning to help ensure the best possible customer experience. She has led multi-agency/multi-stakeholder, region-wide transit planning efforts that included recommendations for coordinated fare structure, policy, and technology improvements—as well as microtransit service plans.


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