The goal of transportation planning is to make mobility more pleasant and efficient. Transportation planning, similar to urban planning, has faced a shift towards more communicative planning practices: public participation is nowadays often included as an integral part of transportation planning processes. Why? The public has a lot of relevant knowledge about the problems within the transportation infrastructure and environment.
Moreover, digitalization has opened new possibilities for including participants’ experiences in transportation-related decision making. When communities play an active role in the development of their environment, we can ensure that we’re addressing transportation and mobility issues that locals find most relevant.
We asked transportation experts what the benefits of using public participation GIS in transportation planning, and what they’ve learned from by using Maptionnaire, a public participation GIS (PPGIS) tool, in their transportation and mobility planning projects.
1. Reach out to the broad public and collect place-based data
According to the experts, the greatest benefits of using PPGIS in transportation planning are the broad reach and the place-based data they are getting. Instead of tracking and observing, people can express their views and habits voluntarily in map-based surveys by, for example, drawing routes they use daily and marking important places on an actual, digital map.
At the same time, it’s easier to reach the broad public with an online PPGIS survey, like Maptionnaire. People can participate whenever and wherever they want, without any group pressure as the case often is in public meetings. With an online survey, it’s also possible to gain a broader diversity of participants compared to traditional face-to-face meetings.
Read how the City of Copenhagen reached to its residents when deciding about the placement of EV charging stations. The online map-based survey was so easy to answer and clearly indicated how the residence input will be used. As a result, residents willingly shared the link within their networks.
2. Tap into ‘soft data’
By using Maptionnaire, it’s possible to tap into participants’ experiences and ideas, i.e. ‘soft data’. At the same time, this soft data is location-based and well structured. Participants can mark new connections (such as a new cycling route) by drawing a simple line, label intersections that they find dangerous, comment on road plans, or suggest improvements to existing transportation services. The collected information is easy to organize and analyze, and hence, easier to utilize in projects.
3. Scale and customize the survey
Customizability of the Maptionnaire PPGIS survey was seen as an asset in transportation planning projects. By creating a survey that caters to the needs of the project, it also delivers better results. Additionally, Maptionnaire can be used in projects of different scale, i.e. in projects that range from state-wide transportation visions to city infrastructure and mobility planning or for detailed development of specific neighborhoods.
4. Create attractive and readable visualizations
Visualizations are an important part of delivering information about projects. With Maptionnaire, it’s easy to illustrate e.g. new road connections and developments in the transportation network. You can simply add your own map layer or shape on top of the map in Maptionnaire. Participants can then mark their likes and dislikes or comments directly onto the existing plans you’ve added to the survey. It’s also possible to use regular images to ask, for instance, what kind of pedestrian environment the respondents would prefer to see in their own neighborhood.