ABSTRACT: The transport system is generally designed by experts such as engineers, transport providers, and planners. The transport plans and proposals are then made available to the community as a draft for consultation. The process can be characterised as: experts-plan-consultation. This paper reports on recent studies in 3 marginalised communities where residents were engaged through community mapping to design their preferred transport system. The community mapping process inverted the planning process stated above and instead generated transport plans from consultation. The plans were then delivered to experts for their response. This process was: consultation-plan-experts.
The community mapping technique applied in these 3 communities responded to the consultation fatigue and frustration expressed by residents who had been involved in over a decade of interventions in their communities with limited resultant transport improvement. Community mapping drew on local knowledge and allowed residents to identify solutions to transport issues. Consultations had previously focussed on residents identifying transport issues, not transport solutions.
The community mapping technique also explored the link between transport access, transport disadvantage and social disadvantage through documentation of the stories and experiences of transport users. In addition to the classic indicators of disadvantage (such as poverty), the research provided evidence that transport disadvantage manifests as social disadvantage in these communities. Transport disadvantage (the result of unmet transport need from relatively low rates of car ownership, inaccessible public transport services, unresolved road and pedestrian/cycle networks and poor quality transport infrastructure) like other forms of social disadvantage, limits the potential of residents and the areas. Residents’ stories of the impact of the transport system and poor transport access on their lives provide powerful evidence of the link between transport disadvantage and social disadvantage.
The studies’ community mapping process and the creative presentation of findings and recommendations resulted in Commonwealth, State and Local Government and local and state-wide media interest. Many of the 3 community’s recommendations for transport improvements are being implemented by Government and non-Government organisations.