Innovative Engagement Tools For Transport Projects - a Comparison of German and French Experience
A Witte, Aachen University-ISB, DE; J Raffaillac, DREIF/DIT, FR
Introduction: transport projects and engagement
How transport decisions are made is changing. It becomes clear that public input into the assessment of transport needs and solutions is a key factor in most transport decision-making. The demand for public involvement also results from a rapid rate of social change, the complexity of modern life and the complexity of transport systems. There are a great number of different factors and values that influence decision-making and participatory processes. These include legal, organisational, financial and socio-cultural factors, as well as the influence of different interests from numerous actors (transport professionals, elected officials, stakeholders, community).
Practical skills in the use of decision-making tools and new techniques must be combined with comprehensive strategies and a suitable project management to ensure that the tools are appropriate to the social, political and economical context of the project and can reach their goals.
Among transport planners a lot of tools are unknown or not used because of a lack of practical experience. There are also some new tools and technologies to be considered which can support involvement and engagement processes. This paper will give 2 examples of web-based implementations and also an overview in which way a comprehensive summary of the most important tools could be presented in a practical handbook.
What are innovative tools for engagement?
This paper concentrates on few possible tools for engagement. These are more or less ?new? or ?innovative? tools, based on Internet-facilities. But these tools are always connected with other activities and strategies, therefore the engagement-framework has be mentioned as well.
The issues that are addressed are integrated in a European Commission funded study called GUIDEMAPS (Gaining Understanding of Improved Decision Making And Participation Strategies), as part of the CIVITAS Programme. The aims of the project are to identify barriers to successful decision making and propose a set of guidelines and tools for overcoming them in the form of a comprehensive and practical handbook. The topics that will be discussed here are practical results of two Case Studies involved in the project. The two locations (Paris/Ile de France and Cologne) allow a comparison of the German and French situations.
Implementation in Paris/Ile de France and Cologne
The Ile de France Case Study deals with the implementation of the Urban Mobility Plan of the region. An important issue of this plan is the improvement of the main bus network what is locally pursued by professional working groups called ?axis committees? (one committee per major bus line). To better communicate with professionals as well as general public about the Urban Mobility Plan a specific website has been designed. Indeed, this tool provides methodological guides and regular pieces of information featured as newspaper articles. Moreover, it should facilitate the operations of the axis-committees and other working groups and also gives the opportunity to exchange opinions among actors through a dedicated interactive forum space.
The Cologne Case Study deals with the re-design of a major inner-city ring-road. Stakeholders and the public are involved by a specific web-based participation tool which will be accompanied by a press campaign and a telephone hotline. The software-tool allows a direct communication of the users and the themes will be arranged by a moderator. The web-forum is directly online moderated and is therefore an dialogue-oriented interactive tool.
For both Case Studies the following topics will be discussed:
*integration in the decision process and in an overall strategy (not as a single tool but part of a media participation strategy)
*lessons learned in different project surroundings (different kinds of projects in different planning systems)
*Involvement of varying interest groups
*evaluation by the commissioning bodies, stakeholders and general public
*factors for success in the use of innovative tools for participation
The paper will finally give an outlook of how engagement tools and relevant experiences are structured and incorporated within a practical guide: the GUIDEMAPS handbook, for better engagement and project management in transport projects and policies.
Association for European Transport