“For me, MetroQuest makes it more exciting to do surveys. It’s a nice tool to use and looks very nice. It feels more exciting to approach survey design because MetroQuest is fun to use,” Corey Liles, Principal Planner, Town of Chapel Hill
A heavenly town with big aspirations for public engagement, Chapel Hill in North Carolina is using MetroQuest to meaningfully engage the community in planning for the future. MetroQuest has helped Corey to:
Located in North Carolina, the Town of Chapel Hill is home to a population of over 59,000 citizens. It’s a “high performing city” widely known for its unique culture, beautiful scenery, and local hospitality. Nicknamed ‘The Southern Part of Heaven,’ Chapel Hill maintains a relatively small town feel with big aspirations for community engagement.
When Town Council adopted a resolution in 2017 to create a strategic plan for implementing the Town’s Comprehensive Plan – Chapel Hill 2020 – it embarked on several outreach initiatives. The Planning and Development Services department wanted meaningful public input to establish new design guidelines, re-write the Land Use Management Ordinance (LUMO), and refine the Future Land Use Map.
The goal? To ‘protect what the community loves and add what it needs.’ Corey Liles, Principal Planner for the Town of Chapel Hill, was charged with boosting public participation rates and capturing the community’s vision for the future of land use in Chapel Hill:
“We were looking for a tool that would help increase our public engagement.”
In addition to conducting dozens of in-person interviews with community stakeholder groups and Town staff, Chapel Hill Town Council sought community input by using online engagement. Corey found the tool that would help Chapel Hill maximize their reach and generate informed input. The team at Chapel Hill was drawn to MetroQuest’s simple to use interface, and they felt invigorated by the its ability to provide a variety of questions in a gamified and friendly manner.
“We compared a few different products. What drew us to MetroQuest was the way that graphics are ingrained into the survey design,” explained Corey, “the variety of question types it offers, and its friendliness on mobile platforms. Those were really the standout traits.”
Chapel Hill immediately understood the benefits of the MetroQuest subscription model – unlimited surveys for one fixed annual price. A subscription allowed Corey and his team to really utilize MetroQuest to full effect.
By using MetroQuest consistently, Chapel Hill collected valuable public input at various phases of planning projects, including: the Blue Hill draft design guidelines, the Ephesus Fordham design guidelines, and the LUMO visioning and re-write project.
“So far, we’ve used MetroQuest for projects related to zoning and urban design. We’ve completed several surveys on a design guidelines project. We’re also getting ready to start one to test ideas about transit-oriented zoning for our community and another one for a future land use map,” described Corey. “We’re starting there. Hopefully we’ll be able to use it for more varied types of projects, and maybe it will be used by another department in the future.”
MetroQuest Studio made it simple for the planning team to create visually compelling Sites (surveys) that attract participants, educate them about projects, and collect informed input for actionable results.
“I found that MetroQuest Studio is an intuitive back-end. It drives you to be concise with words and to think about your Screen real-estate. The result is a better user experience for citizens,” shared Corey, who has been directly involved in building and designing great online engagement experiences.
“For me, MetroQuest makes it more exciting to do surveys. It’s a nice tool to use and looks very nice. It feels more exciting to approach survey design because MetroQuest is fun to use.”
Corey also commented on the outstanding support he received, “I found that the MetroQuest customer service is really good. They answered technical questions … but also helped me think of good questions and the right Screen types. The MetroQuest staff are very helpful!”
Chapel Hill relies on MetroQuest dashboards for actionable results. The planning team has effectively undertaken a deeper dive into their data, and in turn, produced a higher-quality analysis of their public engagement results. “Obviously the data is collected and exported very neatly, so we can analyze it more easily,” said Corey. “With MetroQuest, we can report on the level of engagement and the types of audiences we’re reaching.”
To date, Chapel Hill has collected over 11,000 data points – enabling the planning team to reach its participation goals. Corey explained,
“MetroQuest has the ability to achieve larger participation. We’re excited to see what it does over time, and how it can really improve our culture of public engagement.”
Corey concluded by describing an additional benefit, “one interesting thing is that some of our surveys have served as education tools for the public. We’re using the MetroQuest Screens to present information and get public reactions to it. It helps explain concepts. I think MetroQuest is well built for that type of exercise.”
The Town of Chapel Hill success story offers another testament as to why cities of all sizes trust MetroQuest to maximize participation, collect informed input, and deliver actionable results in support of better planning decisions. Congratulations to Corey and the team at Chapel Hill!