Bakersfield, California

The Project
The $330 million Centennial Corridor project proposed extending State Route 58 in San Bernardino westward beyond State Route 99 to address a long-standing connectivity problem in the area. As the project’s lead agency, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) retained SmartComment to work with agency staff and its environmental consultant, Parsons, to help manage comment collection and response related to the project’s draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the spring of 2014.

What We Did

  • Established a web page for the project to accept electronic comments from stakeholders and other members of the public
  • Provided a secure database to store all submitted comments — electronic, emails, or imported letters, public hearing transcripts and comment cards
  • Created a customized digital process to help agency staff and consultants organize and efficiently respond to all comments. Project staff could analyze comment-related information with charts and graphs, and even plot individual comments on Google Maps to identify particular areas on interest or concern
  • Interfaced closely with the project team throughout the comment period and response process to ensure efficiency and clarity at all levels of the comment management campaign
  • Assisted the public in submitting electronic comments via a bank of laptops brought to a public hearing for the project

The Results
After a 30-day comment period, SmartComment’s platform received more than 400 comments, including Internet submissions, agency and citizen letters, emails, public hearing transcripts, emails, and hand-written comments. Using SmartComment’s system, the project team was able to easily import and efficiently assign topics to individual comments. The consultant and agency staff were then put into a multi-layered comment response environment that allowed each comment response to flow from initial response, through the QA/QC process and on to final approval. With the final document complete, a Record of Decision proceeding with the Centennial Corridor project was issued in February 2016.

What The Client Said
“Handwritten comments are a thing of the past. SmartComment expedited our responses to public comments.”
James Santos, Project Manager, Parsons