It’s Time Consultation Brought Citizens Together Over Controversial Transportation Policy
Argyle Communications, a communications and engagement firm, recently used Ethelo for an engagement project on mobility pricing policy in Metro Vancouver. Called It’s Time, the project has been honoured for its innovation with awards by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS).
"It's Time: How to have meaningful conversations about new taxes in an affordability crisis” received the CPRS Gold Prize for Digital Campaign of the Year and the IAP2 Canadian Core Values Award. The CPRS prize rewards a digital communications program that successfully works with target audiences to create engaged communities, while the IPA2 prize awarded projects that excel in the category of "Creativity, Contribution, and Innovation".
It’s Time was used by Translink's Mobility Pricing Independent Commission to explore how the practice of paying for road use, also known as congestion charging, could reduce traffic congestion throughout Metro Vancouver.
Context Research used the Ethelo platform to collect online public feedback from Metro Vancouver. The consultation engaged more than 17,000 participants and received more than 11,000 comments over two phases, hosting a lively discussion about fairness and future transportation options in a region facing an affordability crisis.
“The experience welcomed frank and polarizing public input and dialogue on mobility pricing,” said Miranda Eng, a senior consultant at Context Research. “Ethelo’s real-time report back and social interactive commenting features helped to earn public trust in the Commission, ultimately working to ensure credibility in the Commission’s final report and recommendations.”
Context Research worked with Ethelo to design two phases of data collection. They also made the online engagement platform available in four languages: English, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese (for Mandarin speakers) and Traditional Chinese (for Cantonese speakers). The IAP2 award particularly noted how this multilingual approach resulted in participant input that truly represented the region's diversity.
Throughout the process, Context was committed to fairness, diversity and transparency — values reinforced by the platform. Ethelo allowed Eng and her team to ensure fairness in the results and display them to the public in real time, encouraging dialogue and deliberation.
“The award validates the values-based approach we share with Ethelo to reach and hear from communities on issues that may impact them – in a way that is transparent, genuine, and inclusive,” says Eng. It’s Time was one of Ethelo’s largest projects to date, and shows how public participation can directly impact important policy decisions.
For more information on It’s Time and the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission, you can read Ethelo’s Case Study on the project.
Want to know more about Ethelo enables fair and transparent engagement processes? Register for our upcoming eDemocracy Webinar - being held on Friday April 3rd at 11am PST/2p EST - on Consultants and Meaningful Online Engagements using the form below.