Mapping transit accessibility: Possibilities for public participation

TitleMapping transit accessibility: Possibilities for public participation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsAnson Stewart
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Date Published04/2017
Type of ArticleTRA
KeywordsAccessibility; Public participation; Participatory GIS; Collaborative GIS; Planning support systems; Transit planning

The value of accessibility concepts is well-established in transportation literature, but so is the low adoption of accessibility-based instruments by practitioners. Based on the premise that leveraging accessibility concepts to address public involvement challenges could promote their adoption in planning practice, this research investigates mechanisms to promote social learning among participants in public workshops. Potential mechanisms of learning include specific tool-based interactions and how such interactions reinforce structures of learning such as alignment and imagination. This paper details iterative testing of these mechanisms with a tool called CoAXs (short for Collaborative ACCESSibility-based stakeholder engagement system), through focus groups and exploratory workshops. A mixed-methods analysis of the workshops supports the expectation that alignment and imagination correlate positively with social learning, as measured by reported learning and dialog quality. Specific interactions with the accessibility-based features of CoAXs in turn correlate positively with alignment and imagination, at individual and group levels of analysis. These findings, while not robustly generalizable, suggest that effective targeted stakeholder engagement for public transport can be structured around collaborative accessibility mapping. Adoption for broader public participation requires further development, especially the incorporation of actual day-to-day experiences such as unreliable operations.