Making it easy to collect — and be guided by — 10,000 comments

On Monday, Philly’s bike share program collected the 10,000th response to proposed bike share locations. With an OpenPlans map and text messaging from Textizen, thousands of residents were empowered to give feedback online and on the street, with all input ending up in one rich data set for planners to work with.

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The Philly bike share map invited feedback on specific locations, and participants responded to a series of yes/no and multiple choice questions. These responses are easy to analyze, alongside open-ended text boxes for more detailed input from residents.

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This input platform is extremely accessible. The Shareabouts map explained the project in English and (human translated) Spanish, giving a broad opportunity for engaging online. With sidewalk stickers giving details of SMS input options, residents could also response via text message, with their responses automatically added to the map. Breakdown reports by location and city-wide tell the project team where people are engaging, who they are, and what they’re saying.

We’re excited by the potential of place-based surveys like this project. Multiple choice answers for demographics can give your team a good sense of who’s engaging, for example to target outreach efforts. Rather than waiting until the project wraps up, and reviewing input once, an OpenPlans map helps you be engaged and responsive to feedback and concerns as they come in. If you’d like to use a survey like this for your project, get in touch.

And stay tuned for the next steps with Philly Bike Share, as the planning team at MOTU report back what they heard and what comes next.