4. Engaging stakeholders
Transport planning and development is conducted in a complex environment in which the views of government and community stakeholders need to be understood. Engaging stakeholders and listening to their concerns is a key component of best practice transport planning.
Engaging stakeholders and the community in options generation helps to ensure that the full range of options is considered. It can provide direct information about people’s travel behaviour, experiences and concerns, identify customer preferences and set appropriate criteria for the appraisal of options.
A process that does not engage with transport system users runs the risk of overlooking less obvious or relatively minor options. For example, a government department may have a perspective on larger scale options to improve transport accessibility, such as investing in new infrastructure or expanding existing services. Local users may point to small scale improvements - such as better lighting at a train station or filling in potholes and installing a handrail along a shared path - that could significantly enhance transport accessibility.
Gaining a better knowledge of people’s travel habits may also lead to an improved understanding of how transport modes integrate with each other in particular locations, generating options that will improve connections.
The purpose of engagement during this step of the Framework is to ensure that a broad spectrum of options is considered across all planning levels and that the impacts on a range of stakeholders are captured in any CBA.
TOOLKIT Tools for engagement
Many tools can be used to identify and engage stakeholders, and ensure their views and experiences are considered in generating options. These include:
- Stakeholder mapping - to identify all key stakeholders with an interest in a particular issue (and the information they may hold) and to capture all potential impacts of an option on the full range of stakeholders
- Strategic workshops with government stakeholders - to develop and test options in a broader strategic context and understand government preferences and priorities
- Stakeholder inclusion in MCA - to give stakeholders a say in setting the criteria against which options are assessed
- Feedback from transport system users - to understand the experiences, concerns and preferences of users
- Surveys, community forums, online engagement and social media - to seek community views on options to solve particular problems and to ensure that the results of community engagement inform the iterative process of generating options.