Greater Wellington Regional Council

Bus Network Review

Bus Network Review: Co-created Human Centred Design Approach

In July 2018 Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) introduced a new bus network across the Wellington region. There has been wide ranging public response, both positive and negative, to changes, especially in Wellington city. Public feeling has also been impacted by concerns around operational issues.

GWRC committed to working with customers and communities to develop a range of network improvements. The Bus Network Review chose an approach that:

  • was committed to a co-creation Human-Centred Design approach, which included sharing the constraints the bus network needs to be designed within with the participants.
  • deliberately targeting customers and stakeholder communities rather than those familiar with (or comfortable with) traditional consultation mechanisms.

The Bus Network Review was not a complete network redesign. It was an exercise in reviewing the existing design using a co-design approach, asking consumers to respond to ideas generated by GWRC, whilst also developing their own suggestions.

The project was designed to meet the IAP2 Core Values for the Practice of Public Participation. The purpose of these core values is to help organisations make better decisions that reflect the interests and concerns of potentially affected people. The values ensure that participants are fully informed, engaged and involved and that their contribution is considered in future decision-making.

To create the environment necessary for co-creation GWRC and Research First used a qualitative methodology that included focus groups, large-scale deliberative charrettes, and community drop-in sessions across the city.

Charrettes were a perfect fit for the co-creation approach. Involving 48 participants in each session, the large group was divided into smaller groups in different ways, combining and recombining to examine the issues and potential solutions from different perspectives. The design enables a complex problem to be processed in a relatively short time and ensures all participants contribute to the outcome.

Participants who attended the focus groups and charrettes were recruited to an agreed profile, to ensure a cross section of the bus traveling public were represented. The drop-in sessions were advertised across the city and were open to all residents to attend.


Across the stages of the project, a total of 880 members of the public engaged with the review.

The review gathered individual stories of how people use and interact with public transport on a daily basis. It identified how the changes in July 2018 had impacted how people travel, whether they felt the changes had improved the network or not and explored suggestions for further improvements that would enhance the existing network. Participants also thought outside of their own needs and consider the entire network and the needs of the city to suggest changes to the network that would deliver to the city’s needs.

The reports have been tabled with the Greater Wellington Regional Council Sustainable Transport Committee and will shape changes to the network.

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