It’s Time Consultation Brought Citizens Into Controversial Transportation Policy
Context, a communications and engagement firm which used Ethelo for It’s Time, their communications and engagement program on mobility pricing, a transportation policy in Metro Vancouver, was recently honored for its innovation by the Canadian Public Relations Society.
The It’s Time project award submission, subtitled “How to have meaningful conversations about new taxes in an affordability crisis,” received the CPRS Gold Prize for Digital Campaign of the Year. The prize rewards a digital communications program that successfully engages with target audiences to create engaged communities, launch or raise awareness of products or manage issues or crisis communications.
It’s Time was the public engagement program of the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission’s exploration in how to reduce traffic congestion throughout
Metro Vancouver through the practice of paying to use the roads, also known as congestion charging or decongestion charging.
Context used Ethelo to collect public feedback from Metro Vancouver residents online. The Ethelo consultation engaged more than 17,000 participants and received more than 11,000 comments over two phases, hosting a lively discussion about future transportation options and fairness in a region facing an affordability crisis.
“The experience welcomed frank and polarizing public input and dialogue on mobility pricing,” said Miranda Eng, a senior consultant at Context Research. “Ethelo’s real-time report back and social interactive commenting features helped to earn public trust in the Commission, ultimately working to ensure credibility in the Commission’s final report and recommendations.”
Context Research worked with Ethelo to design two phases of data collection and made the online engagement platform available in four languages; English, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese (for Mandarin speakers) and Traditional Chinese (for Cantonese speakers). It’s Time was one of Ethelo’s largest projects to date, and showed how public participation could directly impact important policy decisions.
Throughout the process, Context was committed to fairness, diversity and transparency — values reinforced by the platform. Ethelo allowed Eng and her team to ensure the fairness of the results and display them to the public in real time, encouraging dialogue and deliberation.
“The award validates the values-based approach we share with Ethelo to reach and hear from communities on issues that may impact them – in a way that is transparent, genuine, and inclusive,” says Eng.
For more information on It’s Time and the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission, read Ethelo’s Case Study on the project.