Gaining experiences from practitioners

May 25, 2020 • Elias Pajares, Ulrike Jehle, Emna Ben Hassine

By end of this year we aim to launch version GOAT1.0! To achieve a high usability and usefulness, GOAT is currently extensively tested by a group of experts in the fields of transport and urban planning. The funding provided by mFund is allowing to organize different workshops with planners from the municipalities Fürstenfeldbruck, Freising and Munich.

The most extensive series of workshops was conducted with practitioners of the municipality of Fürstenfeldbruck. In three test cycles extensive knowledge and experience from transport and land-use planners, GIS-experts but also from the perspective of the social service department were feed into the development process of GOAT.

At the first workshop, the participants got a detailed introduction into the tool GOAT and its possible extensions and applications. Afterwards, the participants had one hour to try out the tool. The TUM project team observed the use of the web tool and documented the suggestions for improvement. Feedback was elicited through a round table discussion and an online survey that we kindly invite all GOAT followers to answer. The participants confirmed the usefulness and the potential of GOAT in tackling different planning questions in a short amount of time. They also conceived that it is well suited for visualizing current planning issues, which can be used as an argumentation aid.

Goat workshop in the municipality of Fürstenfeldruck

The practical experience of each workshop is incorporated into the development process. After each workshop, further development perspectives, suggestions and user’s feedback are evaluated and continuously updated and made freely available on the project website, so that an improved GOAT version is provided at each test cycle.

The second workshop started with a short presentation on the new version of GOAT and the focus was laid on the practical use of the tool by the workshop participants. For this purpose, tutorials were provided in the form of worksheets that allowed participants to test the new version of GOAT independently and to assess its usefulness and user-friendliness based on local planning issues. For this workshop, a version of Fürstenfeldbruck was provided, which was developed after the first workshop and contains all recent features such as cycling routing and scenarios on land-use changes. The GOAT-team helped with questions and observed and documented any difficulties that arose.

The third workshop was done virtually, due to the current situation with COVID-19. This test cycle was similar to the second one. It started with a presentation on the new features and improvements of GOAT, which was followed by practical use of the tool by the participants. For this workshop, numerous new layers such as accidents, noise levels, protected landscape areas, and buildings and land use were presented. Furthermore, the new feature for the integration of Mapillary imagery was used and well received.

The participants suggested many good ideas for improvements. Among them:

  • add additional POIs, such as children’s playgrounds and nurseries to GOAT
  • consider the accessibility to green areas and parks
  • include information about nature reserves, etc. to get an better idea where for example a new bicycle bridge can be positioned
  • improve the printing feature
  • provide additional data export options
  • improve usability of the scenario building by providing a clearer workflow
  • consider different gradients for the calculation of accessibility with a wheelchair
  • provide the possibility to add new buildings as a new scenario
  • differentiation between different types of wheelchair (e.g. electric and non-electric)
  • enable storage and export of the developed scenarios

The suggestions for improvements were documented and will be, wherever possible, implemented in the further development process. This first series of workshops will be followed by one larger application workshop in each of the municipalities (Fürstenfeldbruck, Freising and Munich) this summer. The goal of these workshops is to use GOAT for relevant planning questions (e.g. access to schools in a new neighborhood), that are currently discussed in the particular context. A final synthesis workshop with participants from all municipalities and further experts will be organized in autumn. We are already looking forward to this!