The main goal of the project is to develop a sustainable oriented spatial and transport planning for the Ljubljana Region that takes into consideration all founded public initiatives and suggestions. To this end, an online interface has been created, which enables users to be active in different on-going and planned projects, including traffic management and maintenance of transport infrastructure.
The Regional Development Agency of Ljubljana Urban Region (RRA LUR) has developed the GIS online platform which is still in the test operational phase and is technically supervised by the University of Ljubljana (UL). Many stakeholders at the national and municipal level (as well at the inter-municipal) were invited to participate in the planning process. This included the Municipality of Ljubljana, experts in the field of spatial and transportation planning, interested public invited via webpages and, decision and policy makers from different fields (for instance, road infrastructure, traffic, urban and regional planning, etc.).
The GIS online platform was established as a tool to test and evaluate the approach proposed to achieve a sustainable mobility and development in the Ljubljana Urban Region. In this regard, the platform intends to configure an alternative link between (sub)urbanisation, mobility and public participation to improve mobility. In this stage, the webGIS is being tested within 26 municipalities in the LUR, as a tool for planning cycle paths and for common traffic and transport infrastructure management.
It is aimed to integrate the GIS platform to manage e-participation related to the Water Management System of the LUR. This includes two main phases: in the first place, to provide public access to flood studies results which were prepared by different municipalities; in the second place, to elaborate a common flood prevention strategy based on the overall data collected.
On the other hand, even though still there is no direct connection to the political level, the platform has a promising future to establish a better communication between (transport) service providers, infrastructure managers and local authorities, which will enable a better coordination and organisation on the institutional level.
Even though there are good examples of effective communication channels (such as blogs, mailing lists or web portal) used by some municipalities of the LUR, many of them do not really contribute to integrate relevant topics and projects in the public debate. As a result, citizens are enabled but not really motivated to join debates through the existing e-participation tools.
The project counted with the support of human and financial resources. During the preparation and implementation phases, IT experts were needed for the installation and customisation of the platform. In addition, for the use phase, help-desk operators and expert groups are expected to be defined by the respective authorities. Nevertheless, the project lacked from the support of some local authorities.
The increasing public awareness of the relevance of e-participation has highly benefited the project. It is estimated that around 75% of households have access to the internet, which has a great impact on information availability and modern lifestyle. In this context, public participation can seriously affect not only infrastructure management but also spatial development, especially through the use of personal smart communication devices.
The project provides an organisational system architecture for public e-participation that enables the assessment and definition of processes, workflows, and data management. In addition, it functions as a Web-app as well as a GIS platform that supports transport infrastructure and traffic management and can be used by different stakeholders.
It has been estimated an increased number of initiatives (approx.3%), opinions, comments and suggestions of citizens to various managers and authorities.
The project is expected to increase active public participation as well as user acceptance of transport infrastructure improvement and traffic management implementation. In addition, it will contribute to enhancing public awareness on the challenges posed by a "new urban mobility", especially in regard to an independent car lifestyle, and to shorten the process of public engagement for the implementation of mobility measures.
In terms of sustainability goals, the project can change mobility behaviour patterns and reduce car-dependency by raising awareness on alternative transport modes. In addition, the introduction of new technologies can improve the quality of life.
"The project should have stronger legal agreement and cooperation between the municipalities in the Ljubljana Urban Region, this will improve the financial support and the e-participation process."
Robert Rijavec, UL