Using online-channels for preparation of the new public transportation tender in Tartu

The project was planned to raise public awareness and collect public opinion about the public bus transportation as new tender was under preparation. As result city government was getting 552 feedbacks from citizens ia Internet and social media channels and was using them to improve quality requirements for public bus transportation in the new tender. Also feedback was used to improve bus routes and timetables according citizens needs.



Main goal

Concrete actions:
eParticipation project was launched in cooperation with local newspaper Tartu Postimees on March 23, 2010. On the same day when public opinion and feedback page in City web page www.tartu.ee was launched also the newspaper published comprehensive overviews with pictures and schemes (timetables and routes – March 23 and new visual design March 24).

General public was informed by the press release and announcement by Facebook and Twitter.
As project had tight schedule the timeframe for eParticipation process and feedback was limited due the reason to consider the feedback in the decision-making process. Never the less the feedback was active and relatively massive.

It was planned to have longer time gap (one week) between the two actions. First of all it was planned action one: Timetables and routes as more core question and after action 2 – visual design. Unfortunately the process was dictated by the newspaper Tartu Postimees who published surprisingly the topics in the newspaper on following days. City government reacts immediately, publish the information on the web and press release and also put the questionnaire on the city web on few hours. Fortunately everything work out and there was only few feedbacks with opinion the city government deals with unimportant topics i.e. visual design.

- To keep discussion about the bus transportation quality
requirements as public as possible.
- to bring all social partners and interest groups around the
table
-To involve citizens to the discussion and keep them informed
about the tender process
-To use feedback from social partners and citizens to develop
quality requirements for new tender, meeting better needs

 

Lessons learned

Number of feedbacks: 552
Clicks to the special web page:
- 8549 (timetables and routes)
- 7046 (visual design)

1. Feedback via social media channels about the timetables and
routes was not that focused as comments received via web
page feedback.
2. Feedback via social media channels about the visual design
was similar in both of the medium.
3. It was painful to get any information from the Department of
Communal services (mainly about the routes and timetables)
and department of PR did not push them hardly.
4. It was easier with the information about the visual design as
there was only one idea finally selected.

Direct results:
Public was involved in the process and was informed about
the progress.
• Feedback from the citizens was used to improve quality
requirements in public tender documentation
• Very important feedback was about the timetables and the
routes what will be used to adjust them.

Recommendations

  • In the next eParticipation projects it will be good idea to give active feedback to the most active feedbackers (personal thank-you letter for those who provided their contacts and confirmation that their proposal is counted in the planning process).
  • You really can´t rely only on social media -In parallel with eParticipation process traditional participation tools should be used: information stands in shopping malls, local shops; city information centre and city district centers, elderly person’s activity centres should be used for informational purposes as personal information sharing and eye-to-eye contact is very valuable.
  • Cooperation with traditional media is very important to get massive attention to the project Recommendation4 Involvement of the political leaders is crucial to have internal support to the project and use feedback for future decisions.
  • Bear in mind, that always additional topics may rose during the project It is not easy to plan and moderate the discussion as some topics are more “sexy” than other either not that important for the topic (bus design versus timetables and routes).
  • Previous questions, feedback summaries and eParticipation cases should be archived and available in the city web
  • https://www.tartu.ee/index.php?page_id=23914&lang_id=1

Location

Tarto, Estonia

Author

Indrek Mustimest

Info

indrek.mustimets@tartu.raad.ee

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