This year, the accessibility instrument GOAT has been experiencing continuous development within the support of the research initiative mFund. Our main goal in this project is to make GOAT an outstanding tool to help planners and decision-makers when planning for active mobility. The project started with an intensive development process and was followed by a series of test cycles in the municipality of Fürstenfeldbruck, which was followed by three planning workshops in Fürstenfeldbruck, Freising and Munich (TUM internal). Finally, there will be a second workshop in Munich with a wide array of practitioners in October this year and a concluding final synthesis workshop with partners from all municipalities.
We are very thankful to the participating city planners, transport planners, architects, and politicians that have contributed with their precious feedback to the development of GOAT. All three planning workshops lasted around three hours and were conducted following a similar agenda. First, GOAT was introduced to the participants so they could familiarize themselves with the main features of the tool. The project team then presented the planning questions that had been prepared for the respective contexts in consultation with the local planners beforehand. Based on the interest the participants then formed groups and worked on the planning questions. A special challenge was the COVID-19 situation, but an in-person workshop was favoured and potential risks were mitigated with keeping distance and wearing masks.
The planning questions were based on real planning tasks from each municipality. Among them:
- New development areas: Scenario for new residential development with local supply (e.g. kindergarten, supermarket) and additional path connections
- New pedestrian and bicycle bridges: Scenario development for new bridges and comparison of the accessibility effects at different locations
- Barrier-free reconstruction of a pedestrian bridge: Development of scenarios for the barrier-free reconstruction of a pedestrian bridge and effects on wheelchair accessibility
- Location planning for local supply (e.g. supermarket) and mobility services (e.g. Bikesharing and Mobility stations): Comparison of different locations through accessibility analyzes with heatmaps and multi-isochrones
The following illustration is showing the results of one exemplary planning questions. It deals with the effects of densification on a rural community in terms of accessibility and therefore pictures a typical challenge in urban and transport planning.
While processing the planning questions and during the feedback round, the participants had many good ideas for improvements. Some selected examples are:
- Integration of additional data (aircraft noise map, green spaces)
- Insert a size label when drawing new buildings
- Allow to label scenarios and add the possibility to switch different scenarios on and off
- Improved import and export functionality of scenarios
- Provide the option to change the attributes of existing streets
- Enable to model the influence of construction sites (e.g. temporary road closures) on accessibility
- Provide the possibility to export the heatmap
- Make it simpler to compare the isochrones of different modes
The suggestions were documented carefully and will be, wherever possible, implemented in the further development process. Some of the features are even already in development and will be released soon (see our Github). The planning workshops will be followed by a final synthesis workshop with participants from all municipalities and further experts. This last workshop within the mFund-project will be used to get further feedback on the user experience and derive conclusions for the future development path of GOAT.