• What is a Delphi Process? Why are we conducting one?
A Delphi Process is an interactive, consensus-building process that uses the knowledge of local experts and community leaders to identify patterns in regional growth and development. The Delphi process is an iterative process that allows the participants to build a consensus on a final growth pattern.
The Delphi Process is meant to account for newly emerging patterns of growth and development in the study region that previous historical trends may not have captured. These emerging patterns are discerned through the combined knowledge of the participating community leaders and local experts.
The process starts with a base map of population and employment distribution created from historical projections. The participants in the Delphi process then evaluate whether they believe that the projections are accurate based on each participant’s knowledge of current and future growth patterns in the region. The input from the leaders is then combined by the study team and a new map is created.
The process continues after the initial workshop with multiple rounds of review and feedback by participants in a series of online forums. During each follow-up session in the process, participants will be asked to use their expert community knowledge to evaluate the accuracy of the emerging map of community growth developed from the input given by the group in the previous session. This process is designed to create a consensus forecast over the course of the Delphi process.
The Delphi Process guides development of an accurate distribution of forecast population and employment throughout the region. The more accurate the forecasts are, the better the MPO can guide transportation infrastructure investment to the areas with the greatest need.
• Why is it important that community leaders participate in the El Paso economic and demographic forecasting process? Why is it important that they commit to participate for the entire process?
It is important to gather input from knowledgeable, local citizens with expertise in many diverse fields in order to accurately prepare a model to evaluate future transportation needs of the region. It is also important to have a well-balanced panel of experts and community leaders in order to obtain the best results.
For a region the size of El Paso, the Delphi Process requires a panel of about 40 to 60 members to participate throughout the process. If participants do not continue throughout the entire process, then the forecast may be skewed due to an imbalance on the panel. Therefore, it is important that as many as possible of the invited community and regional leaders agree to participate and commit to continue actively participating in the process from start to finish. After the Kickoff meeting, it should only take about 30 minutes of each participant’s time during each iteration of the web-based process. The web-based platform allows participants to schedule their 30-minute input session at any time of day.
• What kind of expertise is needed from community leaders?
Community leaders were selected to participate in the El Paso Delphi process because of their unique and specialized knowledge of the region. A participant does not need to be familiar with every subarea in the El Paso study area. The combined wisdom of the various experts participating in the Delphi process will provide the opportunity to develop an accurate projection of the pattern of future growth for the region.
• How much time will community leaders need to commit to completing the El Paso Delphi Process?
The participating community leaders were asked to attend one of the three online Kickoff meeting in the week of June 8th that lasted approximately two hours. From then through August, the participating community leaders will also be asked to commit to completing up to 3 iterative forecasting sessions online (within a broad window of several days’ time to complete each session). Each session should last approximately 30-45 minutes.
• How will participation in the El Paso Delphi Process benefit the participating community leaders and the region?
The economic growth of the region depends on its transportation infrastructure. Without a transportation system that meets the future needs of the community, economic growth will be negatively impacted. Participation in the Delphi Process will help to create a transportation system that will support the economic growth of the region. The results will also be available to other organizations for their own planning purposes, which can help school districts, cities, and counties better plan other infrastructure investments.
• How will the results of the Delphi Process be used?
The results of the Delphi Process for the El Paso region will contribute to the development of population and employment forecasts for the region. These forecasts will become inputs for a new Travel Demand Model (TDM) created by the MPO. The MPO uses the TDM to model how the traffic in the region will use the roadway network in the future. Because it can take many years to get a transportation project through the planning, designing, and building phases to the operational phase – the ability to accurately forecast future community growth is key to building a transportation network that effectively moves both people and goods.
The accurate population and employment forecast is used by the TDM to test how well various alternative transportation projects meet the future needs of the community. The more accurately the TDM “knows” where the people will live and where the employment will be located in the future, the better the TDM can predict how a proposed transportation project will meet the needs of the future of the El Paso Community.
The results of the TDM (showing the impacts on the regional travel patterns for both people and freight) for various alternative transportation scenarios will be presented to the public for their consideration during the development of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan for 2050. The results will also be presented to the decision-making bodies (along with the input from the public) who will determine which transportation projects will be funded and built.
• Who is the project team for the El Paso Delphi Process?
The El Paso Delphi process is a regional study being undertaken by the El Paso Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organizations (MPO) in conjunction with a consultant team consisting of Cambridge Systematics and Alliance Transportation Group.