MnDOT Metro District began the livability Initiative in 2019. We created the Initiative when we realized that people who live, work, and play near our highways want livability thoroughly considered and appropriately addressed in our project work. The need to create a formalized way to guide the consideration of livability in projects was made especially clear when MnDOT engaged in discussions with communities during Phase 1 (2016-2018) of the Rethinking I-94 project, a long-term effort to develop a new vision for I-94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul. During our engagement with communities along the I-94, we learned that community members:
- Are interested in issues beyond the freeway
- Value involvement early and continuously; want accurate, timely information
- Want their values and visions to be reflected in project designs
After that first round of input on livability, the team held specific Livability workshops held in 2021 that further informed the Livability Framework.
MnDOT’s Livability Initiative is not only answering the need of communities, but also is a response to recent Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) support of considering livability in planning, programming, and project development processes. The FHWA published a series of principles to guide departments of transportation that also helped guide the development of the Livability Initiative.
Note: MnDOT developed this framework using input from academic institutions, businesses, community-based organizations, commuters and residents along the I-94 corridor between St. Paul and Minneapolis.