Challenge: More and more Copenhagen residents switch to electric and hybrid cars. To support this transition to more sustainable mobility, the city has to provide its residents with efficient e-vehicle charging infrastructure.
Planners want to run a community consultation process to learn from residents and stakeholders where they need charging stations the most. Essentially, planners require a tool that helps them communicate about the project and gather geolocated information on possible positions of EV charging stations.
Solution: Maptionnaire’s map-based surveys was the right community consultation tool for the Construction, Parking, and Environment Office of the City of Copenhagen. In the survey they’ve made for the project, respondents simply mark on a map the desired location for a charging station and answer follow-up questions.
For respondents, it is so easy to use and effortless to share — and this helps planners get more results and reach broader audiences. With Maptionnaire, planners collect valuable data for prioritizing their work and continuously communicate with residents and stakeholders about the project and its results.
Expanding Infrastructure for Green Vehicles
There is no point in building green infrastructure in the city if residents and stakeholders don’t find it useful. At the same time, a sustainable transportation network and its infrastructure that satisfies residents’ needs will only make the green choice more attractive.
That’s why the project leaders in Copenhagen included several rounds of community consultation in their project of expanding the city’s network of e-vehicle charging stations. It was crucial to communicate with a broad and diverse audience and collect their ideas on charging station locations in the form of geolocated data.
The project headed by the Copenhagen Municipality runs until 2025 and includes several rounds of public consultation. In 2023, the city plans to provide up to 1000 new charging stations based on community input. In the next stage, project leaders will show the public what has been done and ask them what areas still lack charging infrastructure. This continuous communication and engagement helps to reach more people, transparently report on the ongoing results, and enhance the quality of feedback.
Community Consultation for Building an Inclusive Infrastructure
Community consultation is a process of getting actionable input from your community on a specific project or policy. Communities can be asked to evaluate their current state of affairs (asset mapping) or bring in suggestions for improvement (as in the Copenhagen case).
Importantly, community consultation is not about asking for the public’s consent with a ready-made plan. The key driver of this process is planners’ sincere interest and need for community feedback on a project.
Copenhagen opted for an open and digital consultation process — anyone interested can submit their feedback with a simple survey, even guests of the city. In this way, the city can plan inclusive infrastructure that takes into account as many diverse voices as possible.
Sustainable modern infrastructure should be inclusive. A recent McKinsey report defines inclusion as one of the goals for infrastructure development, alongside climate resilience, technology, productivity and value creation, and flexibility. Community consultation is an example of inclusive action for sustainable infrastructure development.
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Designing Online Community Consultation Survey
To gather community input, the project leaders at the Construction, Parking, and Environment Office of Copenhagen designed an interactive map-based survey with Maptionnaire Platform. Maptionnaire is already in the community consultation toolkit of the city. And since for this project planners wanted to combine communication with spatial analysis, it was an obvious choice.
The community consultation survey starts with a map of Copenhagen where anyone can mark up to four desired locations for electric chargers. The map also shows the existing charger infrastructure so that respondents can make a more balanced decision. On the next page, a respondent selects a group to which they belong: resident, tourist, business owner, or stakeholder (e.g., electric charger provider). This way, planners can also evaluate the needs for charging infrastructure for each group of respondents, making the approach more nuanced.
Project managers shared that it was quite straightforward to prepare a survey on their end. They knew what kind of feedback and in which form they wanted to get it, and this guided the survey design process.
Implementing the Public and Stakeholder Consultation in Copenhagen
Even before the survey’s active promotion, the response rates have already been quite high. Citizens found the survey on the city website and shared it with others. The survey is planned to be advertised closer to the tender, and it will be available on municipal websites and the Copenhagen communes’ social media and groups because the outreach campaign starts.
Such a success of the survey was in part due to the Maptionnaire survey being so quick and easy to answer and share, believe Heidi Balling Stephansen and Sara Jensen who work on the project. At the same time, the consultation deals with a pressing topic, and people can clearly see how they can make an impact.
Planners also benefit from the consultation process being organized with Maptionnaire. Firstly, they hear the residents and get geolocated data — their bread and butter — directly from their input. It’s easy to use maps that are already on the platform or include your own, and the data is ready to be exported for further use.
Of course, when someone wants a charging station on the rooftop of the royal palace, it’s a no-go. But we’re certainly hearing the citizens and taking their opinions into account.
Frans la Cour, Project Manager and Senior Consultant at Copenhagen’s City Data Division
Moreover, Maptionnaire Community Engagement Platform helps the city administration continuously communicate with residents and guests — a similar survey will be made for the next consultation round. And finally, they can use the same tool for reporting on the results of the community input in their future surveys so that residents and stakeholders will be able to see how their input was implemented.
While the process of enhancing Copenhagen’s electric vehicle infrastructure is still ongoing, it’s clear that project leaders are satisfied with the first part of their community consultation:
- They had clear goals and understanding of how citizen participation advances their project;
- Maptionnaire was the right engagement tool for running the consultation survey: it was both easy to use for planners and respondents;
- Maptionnaire Community Engagement Platform supplied them with data, as well as made analysis and reporting easier;
- Within one platform, the planners managed to combine continuous communication with location awareness.