The Project
One of the largest transportation projects in Los Angeles history, the proposed $5.4 billion extension of the 710 Freeway proposes an 18-mile stretch of highway and light rail connecting the ports of Long Beach and the Pomona Freeway. To seamlessly manage the expected influx of comments related to the project’s draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), SmartComment’s services were procured by the project’s two lead agencies: the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).

What We Did

  • Created an online comment submission website that allows citizens, stakeholders and other agencies to submit electronic comments related to the 710 North draft EIS throughout the project’s 90-day comment period
  • Built a fully customized, cloud-based platform to store all submitted comments
  • Worked with the project team to build a comprehensive list of comment topics and secondary sub-topics (Tunnel-Tunnel Noise, for example) to accommodate the vast depth of subjects brought up during the comment period
  • Customized a tab-based comment response interface to accommodate the project’s two lead agencies and two environmental consulting firms, LSA Associates and CH2M. User rights were assigned to each entity so that comments could easily “bubble up” through the multi-layered responders — from initial response to QA/QC and on to final approval
  • Acted as an adaptable project partner to execute plans from the lead agencies, while providing tutorials, support and ongoing assistance for both agency staff and consultants
  • Set up and provided assistance at laptop comment-submission stations at five separate public hearings

The Results
SmartComment received more than 6,000 comments for the 710 North draft EIS — with 56 percent of the submissions coming via the website. Despite the heavy comment volume, SmartComment helped the project team avoid comment-related delays or issues by providing a secure, transparent system for managing and responding to them. In addition to the electronic comments, transcripts from the project’s five public hearings were easily imported into the comment manager along with letters and all other traditional comment forms. Using SmartComment’s Smartbracket™ app, consultants were able to efficiently bracket each submission into individual comments and organize them according to topic categories created specifically for the project. Once organized, the comments could then by graphed by topic and easily outputted for project updates or further analysis prior to the comment response period.