The active participation of citizens in specific transport planning projects or even general traffic-related framework planning have become an important factor in recent years, and rightly so. As daily users of the different types of transport modes and systems, citizens have a strong interest in that their ideas and requirements are taken into consideration and tied into the planning process. So ‘Participation’ is a term to be taken literally, which means it should not just be reduced to information about final results. A very good example of an intensive active involvement of citizens in the planning process is the mobility concept for the City of Landau (Palatinate), which is currently developed by PTV Transport Consult GmbH on behalf of the City.
“When it comes to public participation in planning processes, it is important to listen to the citizens’ concerns and to enable them to get involved in the process. Even if not all decisions can be adopted by consensus, they should be able to understand why certain measures will be implemented based on their active involvement and full briefings,” says Christoph Schulze, Head of Transport Planning and Technology at Transport Consult.
In Landau, citizens have access to a clearly structured website providing detailed project-related information, including background information on the mobility concept, the current project status and phases. Here, they can also find out how to get involved in the planning process. For example, they can use an interactive city map during the current status analysis to locate positive and negative examples of transport scenarios within Landau’s transport network and post relevant comments.In addition, an online bicycle use survey was recently carried out. More than 1,000 people participated in this survey, which aimed at gaining information on bicycle use and the preferred cycling routes or the routes taken. The results obtained from this survey will be used for the development of a priority network for bicycle traffic in Landau.
The mobility concept created by Transport Consult will be the basis for Landau’s future mobility policy. It includes all modes of transport as well as important additional aspects, such as accessibility, safety, electric mobility and multimodality. Citizens will be actively involved in all project phases: from the analysis of the current status and definition of fields of action to the development of actions and the creation of an integrated overall concept. “When the time came for us to start work on the project, we organized a workshop where we presented the project to the citizens. They then identified the strengths and weaknesses of the different modes of transport according to the thematic categories displayed on panels. This is the basis for the fields of action that we need to define for the necessary measures, such as completion of the cycle route network or improvements in public transport,” says Schulze. In other workshop, citizens had the opportunity to discuss about their ideas and requirements. The spectrum of proposals ranged from specific measures, such as the optimization of signal control systems to visionary ideas, such as the implementation of demand-driven public transport without any fixed stops or the use of cargo bikes for urban delivery services. The most recent workshop took place in December 2017. The aim was to define the priority networks for motorized and bicycle traffic as well as for pedestrians. The citizens had the opportunity to share their ideas on appropriate routes for the different modes of transport.
After determination of the priority networks and the resulting fields of action, individual measures or sets of measures will be developed and assessed in order to finalize the integrated mobility concept for the City of Landau. The public will of course again be involved in the analysis of the measures. It was originally planned to complete the mobility concept by mid-2018. However, the City of Landau will conduct a major household survey on mobility. “It certainly makes sense to use these results in our mobility concept,” explains Schulze. Taking into account all data records and information available is crucial to the success of these types of concepts. And the general debate on the development of the mobility concept (which involves both political and administrative authorities as well as the public) ensures that no document ends up in the drawer. On the contrary, it helps draw up a framework for Landau’s future mobility concept based on a broad consensus.
Schulze is convinced that “The active participation of the public is crucial to the acceptance of mobility concepts or of transport projects in general.”