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Cities Asking Citizens for Assistance With Transportation

Community Input Helps Cities Transportation Operations

Technology is innovating, there’s no doubt about that. With the innovation, cities are relying on their residents now more than ever to help make more informed decisions regarding proposed additions of new tech. For cities, the new technology allows them to get real-time feedback and give citizens a platform where their voices can be heard.

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In San Francisco, the city turned to the community for assistance in redesigning the subway system. Since the 1970s, when the city built its first subway station, the city has grown, however, the subway has not. With the continued growth, many citizens have complained about the lack of the subway size. As San Francisco considers expanding its subway system, the city is asking its citizens for help. With an online map, citizens can pinpoint where they believe new stations should be added.

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Andrew Heidel, senior planner for the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, said “The interactive map allows people to engage with us according to their calendar and availability.”

With the online interactive map,  the data can be used to pinpoint where people travel now, how they get there, and exactly how that could potentially change with better transit options.

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For the City of Seattle, the Seattle Sound Transit implemented ways to get public feedback on expansion plans by creating a website, which included a survey for citizens to rank certain projects in the proposal. The agency’s $50 billion proposal to expand light rail and other transit operations, which will “necessitate increases in property, motor-vehicle excise and sales tax”, is also accepting suggestions via phone, mail, and email.

Virtual Game Compile People’s Budget

Other cities, such as New Orleans, have created virtual games for citizens to help divvy up the transit budget. The city created a website which houses “The Big Easy Budget Game” and allows players to create their own operating budget for the city. Each player is given a digital $602 million – “keeping in mind the government’s responsibilities, previous year’s spending and their personal priorities”. After all player budgets have been balanced, the city will compile the data into a meta-sourced budget titled “The People’s Budget”. This year, the city will release the 2017 People’s Budget along with the city’s proposed budget and determine ways to improve transit operations.

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As more cities implement ways to include citizens in their decision-making process, the newfound perspectives could positively influence transit operations and the utilization of new technology, particularly mobile apps.

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