Tangible Tools for Public Transportation Planning: Public Involvement and Learning for Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Design

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, mode - bus rapid transit, planning - education, planning - surveys, planning - signage/information


Open governance, open data, transit planning, social learning


Open governance and open data have given rise to new collaborative tools for public involvement in transit planning. The research presented in this paper extends such tools, adding tangible and interactive features in an attempt to foster interaction, dialog, and social learning. Three tools, representing the impacts of bus rapid transit (BRT) projects at the street, neighborhood, and regional scales, were deployed at a series of public workshops in Boston. A pre-/post- survey design reveals substantive learning about BRT, supported by participants’ general agreement with statements about social learning. The quality of dialog in the workshops may point to the potential for more in-depth, double-loop learning. Of the tools used in the workshop, participants judged the one representing the street scale to be the easiest to use, whereas they judged the touchscreen regional map to be the most relevant and credible. Further research could test such tools with more representative participants and in other settings.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by SAGE, copyright remains with them.