Volker Blees

Last modified: 2017-02-28


In planning and building transportation infrastructure, citizens are increasingly demanding more information and rights of participation. This contribution for CeTRA2014 illustrates the state of the art of public participation in Germany and shows why participation makes sense, who should take part in the process of planning, at which point, and the methods that should be used. The aim of public participation is to improve the involvement of citizens in planning. It is important to increase the appreciation of citizenship, politicians and administration for each others’ concerns and duties. For traffic and transport planners, it is useful to get ideas and proposals from experts of ‘everyday life‘. Experience shows, that public participation positively influences the planning process and improves the level of acceptance for planning projects. For the procedure of participation, the following three target groups have been identified, each with a different role and professional competence: institutional stakeholders (administration, parliamentary groups etc.), citizen and lobby groups (citizens´ action groups, lobbies etc.) and the general public (people living in the planning area and other concerned persons).The different forms of participation have to address the interests and capabilities of the different groups. The simplest way of participation is the transmission of information to the citizens and the exploration of their interests and opinions. In both cases communication only runs in one direction: from planner to citizen or vice versa. In more intensive forms of participation a two-way exchange occurs. The most intensive type of participation is one where co-operation takes place, where citizens and professionals work together. During the last few years different methods of public participation have been developed. In presentday Germany citizen forums and workshops are wide-spread. For concrete tasks of urban planning, ‘planning factories’ have been used. Participation via electronic communication media is quickly gaining in importance.


publicity; traffic planners; citizen; policy; public participation; communication; mediation; media; e-participation

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