Problem DescriptionAfter leading a series of public meetings for the Durham-Orange Light Rail Project, the project sponsors realized that the concerns of the community were incredibly complex. The light rail project, at its simplest view, is a transportation project. But with these types of projects also comes impacts to 1) real estate development and markets, 2) land use, zoning, and density, 3) affordable housing, and 4) traffic congestion, to name a few. All of these relate to broader social, environmental, and economic sustainability outcomes. Furthermore, the project sponsors realized that these impacts related to many other organizations aside from their own.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) became involved, assisting in a collaborative process to develop a system dynamics model that would help professionals of different backgrounds at various organizations understand the interrelated issues and how they could work together towards common goals.
The approach integrated group learning within it, resulting in a greater level of understanding for those community members and professionals involved. At the same time, they created a model that could be used over and over again to understand the project nuances. They turned generally understood qualitative factors living in a “grey area” into more finite, quantitative, and scientific factors. As a result, decisions could be made with greater clarity and awareness of factors surrounding the light rail project.
This model can be applied to other urban situations with interconnected or interdependent issues, serving as a methodology or a kit of parts.
- Rochelle Araujo, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Solution StageOne of the 7 stages of an innovation. Learn more
|STAGE||SPECIALIST SKILLS REQUIRED||EXAMPLE ACTIVITIES||RISK LEVEL AND HANDLING||FINANCE REQUIRED||KINDS OF EVIDENCE GENERATED||GOAL|
|Making the case4||Business development and evaluation|
|A stronger case with cost and benefit projections developed through practical trials and experiments, involving potential users||Clarity about what warrants implementation and funding|