Dots & Dashes: Transit Planning Outreach and Education in a Board Game Format

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - education, land use - planning, mode - mass transit


Transit, Stakeholders, Public transit, Outreach, Mass transit, Long range planning, Local transit, Education, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Board games


Dots & Dashes is a program that condenses the long-range public transit planning process, with its financial constraints, trade-offs, and land use considerations, into an outreach activity (a board game) appropriate for a range of stakeholder audiences from lay citizens to transportation professionals. By playing Dots & Dashes, stakeholders express their preferences for public transit investments and are educated about the planning process through group negotiation. Dots & Dashes was designed as a self-contained and branded package that would be replicable by planners in other regions. In the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) region, the program’s aggregated results inform DVRPC’s long-range plan as well as a new long-range vision for transit. Dots & Dashes was designed to be transferable for application in other cities and regions. In the simplest terms, planners interested in replicating the exercise need only adjust the scale of the game board and game pieces to match the local area and scale costs as necessary to account for different time horizons or local project costs.