By M. André Primus
We have a lot of specialized technical knowledge between the five of us here at Highland Planning, and some of us (myself) you might even call nerds. Unfortunately, with technical knowledge comes technical jargon and abstract concepts that can be difficult for people to digest. To break through this barrier we are constantly creating, finding, and testing new techniques.
On each side of the board there are competing focuses a transit system can have, such as "Frequency vs. Coverage" and "Corridor Focus vs. Neighborhood Focus". For each row we ask participants to indicate where on the spectrum their preference falls, then we flip down that row to show where both the current RTS system and industry best practices stand. This facilitates a conversation about tradeoffs and invites people to consider the larger picture behind possible system changes.
The activity has proved immensely useful so far in creating in-depth dialog about what people want from their transit system, and we look forward to using the exercise more with this and other projects.