DorobekInsider.com: Building a better bus stop – with crowdsourcing

Monday - 6/22/2009, 7:39am EDT

Earlier, we told you about an initiative by Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) to crowdsource the redesign of his Web site. But could crowdsouring be used in other areas, like the design of a bus stop. The initiative is called Next Stop Design and it is being done with the help from a for Federal Transit Administration grant 2008-DOT-FTA-PTPP: Innovative Small Research Projects to Advance Public Participation Related to Public Transportation Planning. (Hat tip: I first read about this initiative in a White House blog post by Beth Noveck, the Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Open Government, and Michael Baldwin, an Office of Science & Technology Policy Student Volunteer from Harvard Business School.)

The goal is to see if there are other ways of reaching out to people and getting them involved in developing a bus stop — or other initiatives.

On Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke with Daren Brabham, the project lead for Next Stop Design and a PhD candidate and graduate teaching fellow at the University of Utah. Hear that conversation here:

You can see the ideas posted so far here

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More information is available on the Next Stop Design FAQ page:

Next Stop Design is part of a research project by a team of researchers at the University of Utah, in cooperation with the Utah Transit Authority and funded by a grant from the U.S. Federal Transit Administration. The purpose of the project is to use the Web to bring in new voices and different ideas to the public participation process for transit planning. The site is designed to test the crowdsourcing model as a way to improve this public participation process.

The research team applied for Federal Transit Administration grant 2008-DOT-FTA-PTPP: Innovative Small Research Projects to Advance Public Participation Related to Public Transportation Planning and were awarded a grant. The first round of testing involves the design of a bus stop for the University of Utah campus’ “business loop,” a major transfer stop for the area.

The hope is that Next Stop Design will shed light on the ways people participate in government decision making and design activities—such as bus stop design—online, and that similar projects can be undertaken to solve other public problems and needs.

You can follow Next Stop Design on Twitter @nextstopdesign.