Cities increasingly use public participation geographic information systems (PPGIS) to gather public input on urban planning issues, such as where to locate bike share stations. Are these approaches used by planners to align investments with public preferences, or merely to appear pro-active and innovative? Bike sharing stations have a fast development cycle for transportation projects—allowing analysis of completed construction within as little as a year or two after public engagement. Previous research shows that cities with insufficient resources to work with PPGIS information, or those who do not engage the public with other methods, risk wasting time and reducing trust with the public.
Evidence from Chicago and New York City shows that most public suggestions were served by a station within walking distance, but planners sited few stations directly on sites suggested by the public. This study demonstrates utility for PPGIS as part of a broader engagement strategy that includes traditional techniques such as face-to-face meetings.
This research was presented in Denver, Colorado at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning in October 2017, and a peer-reviewed article is published in the Journal of the American Planning Association, "Crowdsourcing Bike Share Station Locations : Evaluating Participation and Placement".
The Chicago Tribune published a related commentary on page 13 of the January 15th edition: Chicago asked for public input about Divvy — but did anyone listen?
The study was supported in part by the CM2 University Transportation Center project "Can Crowdsourcing Support Co-productive Transportation Planning in Megaregion? Evidence from Local Practice".