Far too many projects – although planned and implemented by professionals – ultimately do not meet the wishes and needs of those for whom they were once sketched on the drawing board with the best goals, or do so only inadequately. This is the case with product development, and we also know this from urban planning and the design of public spaces: pedestrian zones without shady places to rest, passages that are not visible and create fears, or steps that are difficult for short children’s legs to climb.
Query first wishes
The city of Aachen in Germany wants to do things differently and, under the motto “machmit.ac”, consciously take more time to experience the wishes of the residents. Therefore, all citizens were invited to draw a personal picture of their city of the future. Dialego was a partner of this extraordinary action. With 130 city lights throughout the city, we drew attention to the online survey on the subject for three weeks – from 26 March to 9 April 2019. In addition, the call was shared via social media.
First of all, it’s important to note: Such an invitation and sample cannot methodically represent the citizens of a city. To do this, everyone would have to have the opportunity to participate and be drawn at random. But to obtain an initial opinion of an interested group and to draw attention to the activities in this area – the campaign was ideally suited for this purpose.
The initiative took place together with our partners in the Erlebniswelt Mobilität Aachen (EMA). Together we want to better understand citizens and make a first commitment to mobility issues of the future. Because we still have a lot to do here.
Obtain concrete opinions
The response was so overwhelming that even all bets in the office were surpassed. More than 800 participants gave us their vote on the subject. Especially many young participants, passers-by and cyclists were found in the sample. No wonder – after all, the pretty city lights are placed in exposed places in the city. We achieved below-average results for motorists in this way.
Accordingly, the wishes focused on a greater expansion of cycle paths, improved public transport and a restriction of car traffic. However, we also found these wishes in our citizens’ and expert groups last December, which represented a broader spectrum of the population. The emission-free inner city is a desirable goal for many citizens of the city.
Putting innovative ideas up for discussion
In the survey, we also presented innovations from the EMA partners: There is particular interest in cargo bicycles and electric bicycle trailers. Furthermore, the people of Aachen want an intelligent transport system for buses and all mobility offers in one app. For motorists, attractive park and ride offers, intelligent traffic management and a better charging infrastructure are important for e-mobilists.
Future technologies such as the autonomous bus or drones are still assessed very cautiously. Here, experience is simply missing. A research task to which we will devote ourselves with dedication in the coming months and years.
The approach of the city of Aachen to involve the inhabitants of the city in planning at an early stage and to set up low-threshold offers of expression of opinion is also recommended for imitation in other cities. Even if the results are not representative, valuable feedback can definitely be generated from them.
Please also read our other blog posts regarding this topic:
Information about UrbanMove can be found here:
As a thank-you, the participants could look forward to great prizes, such as cinema tickets including popcorn and drinks, annual e-bike tickets, a weekend in an e-car or concert tickets. We thank our supporters CreatEVENT, Stawag and VeloCity for the attractive prizes!