Engage citizens with transport planning

Simulator helps people understand the complexities of transport planning and provide informed feedback about their preferences.

Transport is a key policy area for our times

Economic, societal and environmental pressures mean that transport infrastructure is a crucial focus for governments around the world in the 2020s. Active and sustainable transport, air quality and emissions and the possibilities arising from new technological developments are already in the spotlight.

Modifications to local transport will always be significant to the people they affect. And the changes to transport in the coming decade are also going to be substantial and wide-reaching – in many cases, a complete overhaul. So it's never been more important for government bodies to engage with their citizens on this issue – and to find ways to get meaningful public input on the choices at hand.

Digital tools for gauging public priorities

In the search for engaging, accessible ways to connect with citizens, government bodies around the world have chosen Simulator to get public input on their transport plans.

Simulator is an online interactive prioritisation tool that lets people weigh up future transport decisions for themselves.

Respondents can experiment with various possible permutations – getting to see what the likely impact of different choices would be and to understand the trade-offs at play.

Over 100 organisations have used Simulator to engage citizens in this way, on issues such as public transportation systems, traffic/highway infrastructure and electrification of vehicles.

Exploring new transport possibilities in Bristol, UK

Like many busy metropolitan areas, the city of Bristol, UK faces a sizeable list of transport challenges: high levels of congestion that can lead to poor air quality; busy roads that reduce safety for cyclists and pedestrians; an unreliable public transport system…

To try and overcome these issues, Bristol City Council wanted to explore possible changes to their transportation infrastructure. Ideas included the introduction of a tram system, an underground/metro and improvements to train routes in the city, amongst others. With such significant (and potentially disruptive) options on the table, it was vital that the council consult the public.

Bristol decided to run a Transport Priority Simulator, making it easy for people to consider the trade-offs between transport preferences, budgetary considerations and the wider impact on the city. Simulator also allowed respondents to express how they would prefer to see the transport system overhauled.

Using Simulator was the first stage of a wide-reaching consultation campaign. The council published a comprehensive report of the results, highlighting key areas of public concern. The findings went on to inform and shape the city's new transport plans, including the introduction of measures to ban diesel vehicles.

The Priority Simulator tool has provided a more engaging way for our citizens to get involved in the consultation process.

I have received a number of comments on how easy it is to use and I am convinced that having the Simulator tool has encouraged more people to take part in the consultation than using traditional consultation methods.

Jodi Savickas, Transport Policy, Bidding and Strategic Projects Manager, Bristol City Council

Raise awareness of your transport plan

Simulator gets people to weigh up the real choices and trade-offs involved in improving transport infrastructure. It helps turn 'wish-lists' into considered preferences, with people thinking carefully about which things are most important to them.

Build understanding for the choices at hand

Simulator makes people more well-informed via the process of participation. By making the trade-offs necessary to balance resources themselves, respondents gain a new appreciation of the complexities involved.

Informed public feedback for Glasgow City Council

Glasgow City Council were consulting on their 10 year transport plan. The plan covered things like improvements to existing infrastructure as well as changes in technology and travel methods, such as electric cars and greener travel preferences.

They used Simulator to run the consultation as an interactive prioritisation exercise. They divided the plan into 15 different categories, giving a good overview of all the different elements the council needs to balance.

Respondents were given 30 points to ‘spend’, which they did by moving sliders left or right within each category. Each time they adjusted a slider, they were given a consequence, showing them the likely impact of the decision. At every stage, respondents had the option of leaving comments.

This embedded information informs at the point of response, meaning that there is absolutely no prior knowledge required on the part of the respondent. What results is rich, insightful, informed feedback for the consulting organisation.

We are preparing a set of new transport plans for the City - an overarching Glasgow Transport Strategy, a City Centre Transformation Plan and Liveable Neighbourhoods Plan.

We ran a six week Public Conversation on the city's transport future. The aim of this public engagement was to gather views from stakeholder organisations and the public to help inform the new transport plans.

Glasgow City Council

Make difficult decisions easier to understand

Complex information is made clearer and more navigable by interactivity. Simulator lets people adjust simple sliders and see real-time feedback through points and consequences, giving them a hands-on grasp of the issues.

Your transport planning engagement needs to be two-way: listening to people as well as informing them. Simulator gives you usable data about people's priorities, which can shape your plans.

Get an accurate model

Set up Simulator to reflect the realities of your situation. Create a capped financial budget, set an emissions target or let people allocate prioritisation points.

Stay on top of everything

Control your Simulator quickly and easily with at-a-glance dashboards and settings. Access headline statistics whenever you want to monitor progress.

Generate detailed analysis

Dig into the comprehensive reporting tools to produce insightful findings. Export all data at any time to audit results and run even more analytics.

Want a real person to walk you through a live demo?

We’re happy to help out. We'll answer all your questions. We won't share your contact details.

Request a Free Demo