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Usefulness of planning support systems: A conceptual framework and an empirical illustration

Peter Pelzer

Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 2017, vol. 104, issue C, 84-95

Abstract: Planning support systems (PSS) are digital instruments to support planning. Comparatively little attention has been paid to understanding the usefulness of PSS for planning practice and studying its application in real-world planning situations. This paper aims to address this omission. Conceptually, usefulness is subdivided in seven dimensions, and explained by the usability and utility of the PSS. This framework is applied to a case study with Urban Strategy – a PSS based on combined environmental and traffic models. A workshop with this PSS was studied using a questionnaire, interviews and observations. The findings indicate that in addition to the more commonly used concept of usability, utility (understood as task–technology fit) is helpful to understand the usefulness of a PSS application. This concept, for instance, helps to indicate when a PSS has a negative effect on planning tasks. Moreover, in addition to usability and utility, context turned out to be critical to understand the usefulness of a PSS application.

Keywords: Planning support systems; Usefulness; Planning tasks; Task–technology fit; Mixed methods; Workshop (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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