Transport planning is a tricky business. From harnessing data on different journeys, to working within the constraints of existing architecture and infrastructure (which might no longer be fit for purpose), to balancing the preferences of residents with the realities of budgetary constraints, even something as seemingly simple as changing a bus route or putting in a cycle lane can have a ‘butterfly effect’ that echoes across a whole city or ward. It’s a bit like a Jenga tower. Pull out the wrong brick and the whole thing could collapse around your ears.

So when it comes to consulting with residents, it’s tough to ask the right questions. How can you truly demonstrate the complexities involved when presenting options so your citizens can make informed decisions, without giving them 200 pages of required reading?

Complex decisions made simple

Problems like these are the reason we created Simulator, Delib’s digital prioritisation tool. Its built-in constraints replicate the trade-offs that policy-makers have to balance, enabling residents to try their hand at complex decision-making.

It’s been used to harness citizen input on thorny issues like policing priorities, carbon budgets and, yes, transport planning. But don’t take my word for it. Take a look at Glasgow’s transport Simulator:

Glasgow City Council's Transport Simulator overview page, title 'Glasgow Connecting Communities - our new transport plans'
Image of Glasgow City Council's transport Simulator in action, depicting a slider and its consequences

Glasgow City Council are consulting on their transport plan for the next 10 years. It covers things like improvements to existing infrastructure as well as changes in technology and travel methods, such as electric cars and greener travel preferences. There are 15 different slider categories, which gives a good overview of all the different elements the council needs to balance.

Informed input

Respondents have 30 points to ‘spend’ and do so by moving sliders left or right. Each time they do so they’re given a consequence, with the option to read more info if they wish. At every stage they have 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.

Simulator enables us to both broadcast and raise awareness of [how council processes work], and also get feedback from people of what their priorities are.

—David Porteous, Strategy Manager, City of Edinburgh Council

To find out more about Simulator and how it can help your organisation, you can book a free demo and we’ll talk you through it.

Read more about Simulator:

Education, empathy, Edinburgh: fostering understanding with Simulator

Rethinking policing: Police Service of Northern Ireland