Stage 3 Setting Goals

Consultation Process

Consultation with stakeholders is one of the most important and most underestimated parts of the process. The stakeholders are the agencies, businesses and people, who are going to implement the project, finance it, use it, or live alongside it. Collectively, they have a deep understanding of the city and transport system, the problems, possible solutions, what can be made to work, and how to overcome problems. Working with the stakeholders gives access to a very substantial knowledge resource, helps to reach a consensus, and can develop the goodwill and understanding which will support the project development and implementation.

All too often, key players are excluded until main decisions have been taken and the consultation process is little more than telling them what is going to happen – sometimes in a deliberately incomplete way to avoid their negative reaction. Not surprisingly, this can lead to suspicion and misunderstanding, and a collapse of the goodwill and support needed for a potentially worthwhile initiative.

“Consultation must be more than a PR exercise. It needs to genuinely involve the main participants in an active way, and ensure that minor participants are never left out of the loop. ”

The practical measures include:

  • Establish one or more working group(s) involving the main stakeholders
  • Hold focus groups and workshops for all relevant stakeholders to discuss and understand their needs, priorities and suggestions
  • Where necessary, work one-on-one with main stakeholders to understand their objectives, concerns and how to overcome obstacles
  • Communicate progress at regular intervals
  • Work as much as possible towards achieving consensus, first at the level of broad goals, then at the level of problem definition and only later at the technical level
  • Be open to suggestions from all stakeholders and take particular care of their main concerns. A good understanding at this stage of the process may avoid serious confrontation later
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