Innovative Approaches to Option Generation
Central and local governments often employ sophisticated modelling and appraisal procedures to ensure that the transport strategies and schemes that are selected for implementation meet policy objectives and are economically efficient. But relatively little effort has been made by the profession to develop methods to assist with the generation of appropriate and innovative options which form the core inputs to this whole process. The paper first summarises UK local authority views about the importance of option generation and their current ability to develop suitable options. It then provides an overview of methods that have been used in a variety of disciplines and policy areas to generate options. Some mainly represent or package existing knowledge, while others encourage ‘outside-the-box’ thinking, with the aim of developing solutions that have not previously been thought of. Methods range from those that are highly quantitative and replicable, to others that are qualitative and much more subjective in nature. Four option generation tools developed as part of the DISTILLATE project are described and illustrated with case study examples. Two apply at the strategic level; one is designed to assist in selecting packages of measures that contribute to an urban transport/land use strategy, while the other assists in identifying accessibility problems experienced by different population groups, and in generating a range of potential solutions. The other two apply at the scheme level and are more participatory in nature; they deal with streetspace allocation and with the improvement of community spaces.
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