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Policy Statement 139 - Public Involvement in the Decision Making Process

Approved by the Engineering Practice Policy Committee on February 22, 2013
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on February 25, 2013
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 12, 2013


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) actively participates in and strongly supports the involvement of civil engineers, as well as individual citizens and coalitions, in the legislative and regulatory decision making processes at the local, state and national levels.


In a period of enhanced awareness about the long-term effects that technical aspects of all types of engineered projects have on the lives of individuals, there is public concern for the environment, there is recognition that capital is limited and must satisfy competing demands, that technology is changing at a rapid rate, and that natural resources have finite limits.  Effective public decision-making requires that a wide variety of viewpoints be assessed.


Civil engineers have a responsibility to develop clear statements of purpose and to analyze the costs, benefits, and impacts of proposed actions, thereby assisting the general public in making more informed decisions about technical and engineered projects.

Civil engineers are encouraged to participate in and seek appropriate public involvement through:

  • Public and social media information programs and meetings;
  • Public hearings;
  • Presentations and discussions of viable alternatives including the engineering, environmental, social and economic impacts;
  • Explanations of the impact of decisions made; and
  • Active participation in elected or appointed legislative or regulatory bodies of government.
ASCE Policy Statement 139
First Approved pre-1974