Barb Chamberlain

For a Transportation Vision Project process I was involved with, the Spokane Regional Transportation Council had consultants (MIG was the firm) develop a full-on game. We did a beta test using a Monopoly-like format in groups, then it was recreated online for individual play.

Since transportation funding comes from a variety of sources, some with restrictions, the game involved selecting the taxing levels/fees you would support, then going to the allocation step. The game tallied it all up and showed you what your choices meant. So if you didn’t want to increase transit fares but wanted more transit projects, for example, you might run out of money and have to back up and rethink revenue sources.

The online version is probably beyond the capacity of most small taxing districts–a lot of specifics and constraints have to be programmed in. But doing it in a table game format might work, with individuals talking to each other about whether to make one choice or another to move forward.

It was complex and could benefit from more development to be more user-friendly, but it was very informative. If you wanted more information about a specific project it was right there in a pop-up.

Contact Staci Lehman, [email protected], if you want more information.

I would caution, though, that asking people “what they want” without being clear about the decisions that are off the table due to state and federal mandates will get you into trouble, as you’ve no doubt already considered.

If you really went for it on the Monopoly version, they could “go to jail” for deciding to defund special education, for example, so they get a sense of the constraints school districts have to deal with. (I have volunteered for the past 4 election cycles on our citizens’ committee for levy/bond campaigns, since 2003, so I feel your pain.)

I can envision this as a card game but can’t quite see how I’d structure the rules.