It’s always a pleasure to collaborate with our partners at Public Engagement Associates (PEA); we have worked together for over 20 years and we bring a lot of experience and capacity to the communities we work with. Together we’ve worked with mayors and agencies within the District of Columbia to engage citizens and stakeholders in collaborative sessions that identify areas of shared understanding and priority.
Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the DC taxi industry suffered greatly. In March 2020, taxi industry rides were at 10% of what they were in March, 2019. In early 2021 the DC Department of For Hire Vehicles (DFHV) developed a plan for industry recovery. Recognizing that it was critical to involve the drivers in the creation of the plan DFHV turned to PEA to help with an Online DC Taxi Driver Summit. Collaboration Arts was brought in to provide online engagement technology and management of the real time sense making process for a 3-hour meeting attended by 180 taxi drivers.
The purpose of the meeting was to provide drivers with a comprehensive look at the current state of the industry and to get drivers’ feedback on what the priorities should be for industry recovery. Drivers were put in facilitated, virtual small group breakout rooms and asked to discuss the advantages and disadvantages on six potential recovery strategies as well as share their own ideas for helping the whole industry recover. Our engagement platform allowed for the rapid sense making and the presentation of themes back to the group representing areas of shared agreement identified by all 180 drivers.
That’s 180 drivers finding shared understanding around the advantages and disadvantages of 6 potential strategies the district is considering in under 3 hours. This input was used by the DFHV in refining their recovery plan for the industry.