Long-range transportation plans are tricky things. They affect the entire population of a given area, and nobody can ever agree on which one is absolutely the best. Planning organizations have one major key to help them unlock the solution that benefits the greatest number of people - the feedback of an informed public. But educating citizens about the trade-offs inherent to transportation projects can be tough - there are so many interrelated factors to consider. And nobody wants to read pages of reports and analysis on the subject. The Preferred Scenario app from the EngagingPlans Suite lets people play with different planning options so they can see which one best aligns with their needs, all within a fun interface that feels more like a game than a chore.
In Bannock County, Idaho, the Bannock Transportation Planning Organization (BTPO) is currently considering 4 alternative scenarios for their 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, which will determine the future of transportation for the county. To make sure their audience understands how each plan will affect the region, the BTPO built an online activity that allows users to weigh the 4 alternatives against their personal preferences.
The website first invites people to pick priorities that are important to them, like “Outdoor Lifestyle” or “Economic Vitality”. As choices are made, a chart shows - in real-time - how the different transportation plans align with those priorities. Users can start over or re-arrange their choices at any time. They can also click on one of the plans to discover more information, presented through attractive infographics and zoomable maps - not your average transportation analysis! Detailed comparisons are available for citizens who wish to delve into deeper information.
Of course, public feedback is paramount in making a final decision, so the Preferred Scenario app also provides several ways for users to comment, rate, and brainstorm on the plans. The BTPO will be able to download all the results from the activity for further analysis - allowing the agency to gain insights about the priorities of the community and the thought processes of citizens. Long-range transportation plans may be tricky, but with the EngagingPlans App Suite, gathering informed feedback doesn’t have to be. We look forward to seeing how the online activity continues to help the BTPO achieve its engagement goals.