Community Remarks™: An Alternative Community Engagement Tool

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (TheRide) has set out with a bold , shared vision for connecting Washtenaw communities through public transportation.  The Moving You Forward Transit Master Plan for Washtenaw County identifies the transit challenges and needs of County residents over the next 30 years, and provides options and scenarios to address them.  As part of the planning effort, TheRide hired Carlisle/Wortman to lead a public outreach effort to gather feedback  on the Plan.    Given the need to reach a wide and diverse group, Carlisle/Wortman realized that traditional community outreach had to be complemented with unique community engagement techniques.

One such technique is the Community Remark(TM) tool.  The Community Remarks(TM) tool is a customized web mapped-based program built on Google Map software.  It provides an alternative method to attract and engage a larger audience by allowing participation from the comfort of home or office.

Citizens want to be more engaged.  They want to highlight assets, issues, and concerns and show you what works and what doesn’t in their community.  This interactive mapping tool makes that possible.  Features of Community Remarks include:

  • Ability to post geographic-specific comments
  • Ability to load maps
  • Ability to load pictures
  • Ability to “Like” or “Dislike” comments

In a period of 2 months TheRide Community Remarks site has generated 762 comments, from hundreds of unique users.  These comments have assisted TheRide in their ongoing efforts to tailor the  Moving You Forward Transit Master Plan to meet the transit needs of county residents.  For more information about TheRide’s Community Remarks tool, please visit www.communityremarks.com/theride.

How can the Community Remarks tool assist your community?  For more information contact Ben Carlisle at 734-662-2200.

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