SmartParticipation NYC Congestion

The RegulationRoom team at Cornell University just launched their first local policy discussion on SmartParticipation.com. From the email announcement:

Lately, experts and advocacy groups have been weighing in heavily on NYC traffic congestion. While this is good, it’s also important to hear from the people who deal with congestion daily—commuters, pedestrians, bicyclists, professional & private drivers, transit riders, business owners, all people from all boroughs who have a stake in how NYC decides to manage congestion.

Now is your chance to have your say. Join the NYC congestion discussion, hosted by the SmartParticipation team at Cornell. Share your experiences; evaluate proposed solutions; make new suggestions; discuss the problems with other people affected. At the end, the discussion will be compiled and submitted to local and state policymakers.

Like its sibling, RegulationRoom, the new SmartParticipation platform, which is intended for hosting non-rulemaking policy discussions, combines a very friendly user interface (UI) with human facilitation. From the website:

For seven years CeRI researchers have worked with government agencies to develop online technologies that support more diverse and informed public participation in important policymaking decisions. CeRI’s SmartParticipation strategy has four components for expanding the range of voices in the policy process:

  • a civic participation platform designed to provide an environment for online discussion that is informed, inclusive and insightful
  • outreach aimed at alerting and engaging stakeholders who may not participate in traditional public comment processes
  • relevant information about policy issues that is comprehensible to ordinary people, while also allowing participants to dig into more details and data where they want to
  • trained moderators who facilitate the discussion and support informed, robust, and civil exploration of all perspectives and viewpoints.

According to Mary J. Newhart, Executive Director, Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative and Law and Public Policy Program, the plan is to make the technology “open access” on GitHub next year.