Digitalization: Opportunities for New Forms of Participation in Urban Transportation Planning
On May 17th, 2017, Meeting of the Minds hosted a live webinar featuring Christopher Zegras, Associate Professor of Transportation and Urban Planning at MIT.
Digitalization – the use of digital technologies for different services and businesses – increasingly permeates our urban mobility systems, evidenced in the emergence of autonomous vehicles, real-time traffic prediction and control, and transportation network companies (e.g., Uber). For public transportation, digitalization in the form of the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS), can provide detailed route and stop and, increasingly, real-time performance information (via GTFS-Real Time) through various communication media. What are the implications for opening up the planning process?
Digitalization has enabled more visual and interactive tools for group-based planning speculation and review. This presentation reports on recent efforts to demonstrate the value of creating and deploying new, open-source, interactive tools to facilitate participatory planning and individual and group learning for public transportation planning. Chris will present findings from a series of public workshops held in 2015 in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. These pilot workshops focused on the potential for implementing bus rapid transit (BRT). Chris will also report on findings from a follow-up workshop series from November 2016, for which the approach was adapted to mobilize support for a bus priority campaign for a Boston-based NGO, Livable Streets. While the tools have, to date, been tested in the Boston Area, we believe they have applicability to planning for a broader range of transportation alternatives in a variety of settings. The presentation will conclude with discussion of efforts towards those ends and reflect on implications for how digitalization may increase the viability of truly participatory planning.
Associate Professor of Transportation and Urban Planning
Chris Zegras is Associate Professor of Transportation and Urban Planning at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). He teaches, leads large-scale research, and consults on a range of topics, from data collection to behavioral analysis, integrated land use transportation planning and modeling, and project and policy analysis. He is Lead Principal Investigator for the Future Urban Mobility Interdisciplinary Research Group under the Singapore MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART). He is also an Executive Board member of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Centre of Excellence. At MIT, he leads the Mobility Futures Collaborative, a research group that leverages analog and digital data collection and analysis tools to mobilize a collective intelligence towards improved mobility conditions in a range of contexts around the world. Before becoming a faculty member at DUSP, he worked at MIT’s Laboratory for Energy and the Environment and the International Institute for Energy Conservation.