A Tale of Two Cities: Key Learnings on Cross-Developmental Collaboration


Experts from Metro Transit and the City of Minneapolis Public Works weigh in on how to build a transportation system that works

City transportation projects impact all parts of an urban ecosystem — which means that a lot of stakeholder priorities are at play.

Finding balance among these stakeholder goals is critical to a project’s success. But effective coordination doesn’t just build the consensus you're looking for. It cultivates the unified voice needed to win public buy-in.

In a recent webinar titled “A Tale of Two Cities: A Story of Cross-Department Collaboration”, we spoke with Adam Smith from Metro Transit and Jasna Hadzic-Stanek from the City of Minneapolis Public Works to unpack the intricacies behind tackling a large-scale, multi-agency transportation project.

Speaking from their experience developing the Minneapolis bus rapid transit (BRT) METRO B Line, the panelists reinforced the importance of stakeholder integration and how tools like Remix support collaborative project delivery. "The interagency coordination aspect [of a project] is critical for everything we do,” Adam said.

Cross-departmental collaboration: defining and aligning goals

The Minneapolis METRO B Line broadly targets holistic improvements, making upgrades to provide up to 20 percent faster service through:

  • Optimized bus timetables and frequency
  • Consolidated stops
  • Upgrades to stations and buses
  • Reduced queue lengths and dwell times

The route runs along a culturally significant corridor through Minneapolis, affecting multiple communities, a range of businesses, and vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic alike. The city itself also has 19 local capital projects planned before 2026 that must align with this transit redevelopment.

This means that, in addition to meeting key engineering metrics, the team has to “manage decision-makers with different priorities,” Jasna said, “while ensuring there’s equal equity.”

Adam identifies three key concepts behind their approach to this stakeholder coordination:

  1. Apply a consistent set of considerations to analyze how a decision impacts people from every viewpoint — from land-use context and traffic patterns to pedestrian safety and concurrent projects
  2. Share information for key project needs and collecting feedback to understand how different options affect stakeholder priorities
  3. Evaluate solutions, considering each alternative to highlight which best meets stakeholder needs

A project is unlikely to meet every stakeholder goal. But this process brings together seemingly discordant priorities, connecting them under larger interagency and community goals like access, safety, and a city’s environmental footprint.

From this united platform, it's easier for a transit team to effectively communicate stakeholder tradeoffs, emphasizing the benefits a project brings to all.

“Working together with different goals helps ensure all points are addressed, prioritizing equity even in the nitty-gritty details,” Jasna said.

Consensus-building with Remix

It takes transparent, collaborative communication to forge and maintain this cohesive direction. But with so many parts moving among various departments, it creates a challenge to have to catch up on long-winded email chains or disjointed voicemails.

Transit planning requires your team to work in a visual medium — but context is easily lost in screenshots and email chains.

With Remix’s newest collaborative tool, teams can now leave comments right on the working map. A new comment is attached to its visual context — so team members see exactly what you’re referring to — and replies are saved to a thread in real time.

This internal commenting streamlines a transportation project’s workflow, democratizing decision making by:

There are new features to Remix’s presentation studio as well, allowing editors to better customize maps with visual clarity and operational details.

“[Sometimes] lines are blurred in what agency responsibilities are,” Jasna said. With all communication housed directly in their workspace, her team can form an integrated approach that ensures equity and can weather pushback.

Applying public feedback to win buy-in

Remix can also act as a virtual public forum.

Just as the Minneapolis team logs comments to share information and track progress, they can share a map with the general public to address local questions, comments, and concerns.

Collect feedback from stakeholders and the public all in one place — and in the same place your team designs, evaluates, and adapts plans.

When you share a map link publicly, anyone can see and explore the details of that map — but only your team can see what they say. All communication between team members stays out of public view as well.

You can then export these comments into a .CSV file to manipulate the data, isolating trends and patterns.

Ultimately, a transit project like METRO B Line is designed to serve this citizen stakeholder, and fielding their priorities guides interagency planning.

Jasna and Adam shared that this public feedback is also crucial for their team to preempt public pain points like parking and curb space. It ensures they can “add emotionality to the transit story” when communicating tradeoffs, combating biased narratives, and connecting goals to policies that favor everyone, Jasna said.

Optimize collaborative transportation planning

Looking for the right tools to build consensus while keeping your stakeholders aligned? Get in touch to learn more about how Remix can enhance your local transportation planning process. You can also join the conversation on Transpo Talk, our free Slack community for transportation professionals.