Owned and developed by Vancouver-based Envision Sustainability Tools Inc., MetroQuest aims to help clients create broad based support for planning initiatives. Perhaps more so than any other platform presently operating, MetroQuest focuses on strategies for community priority-setting MetroQuest is comprised of four configurations, each designed for specific engagement tasks:
- Community Priorities: This configuration is designed for use at the beginning of the planning process, to assess the community before ideas and alternatives are proposed. Users can rank their policy priorities, rate community performance and comment on how the city is performing.
- Transportation and Urban Planning: Also targeted for the beginning of the planning process, this configuration allows for users to identify issues and share opinions on transportation projects and planning initiatives. A mapping feature allows users to use Google Maps to identify issues and locations needing improvement. Administrators can also set up opinion polls to gage the opinions of the community on particular issues.
- Funding and Budget Alternatives: This configuration provides users with an interactive platform for learning about and evaluating budget decisions. Participants can use a sliding scale to explore funding allocations for projects and the composition of the budget, as well as the impact of their budgetary decisions.
- Scenario Exploration: Once a community has established its set of priorities and project alternatives have been proposed, the Scenario Exploration configuration can be used to educate the public and gather feedback from community members. Users can again rank their priorities, submit input on their preferred options, and experiment with various local and regional scenarios.
Each MetroQuest configuration is specifically developed to suit the project’s engagement goals, branding, and phasing. A MetroQuest configuration is comprised of a series of 4 to 5 screens that guide participants through the process of learning about the project, evaluating alternatives and identifying their priorities.
In addition to traditional web and tablet capabilities, MetroQuest also provides the capability of using kiosks and interactive workshops presented as live meetings. Kiosks are placed at meeting locations and government offices, where desired, to allow stakeholders to give their input while attending meetings or civic functions.
MetroQuest has been used throughout the US and Canada. It is a small firm of less than ten employees, and has been in business since 1997. MetroQuest offers a free trial of their standard configurations, and the platform is provided based on a monthly subscription; a software-as-service platform is replacing the firm’s previously consulting-based fee structure. The most recently-available cost data indicates that a one-phase project is typically priced at $9,000, while a two-phase project is priced at $13,500.