The Simple Planning Tool for Oklahoma and Arkansas climate hazards was developed collaboratively with decision makers to assist individuals with no formal training in meteorology or climatology in obtaining locally-relevant data that is salient to their planning needs and help informs decisions. Evidence from informal evaluations conducted with emergency managers (EM’s) and planners and subsequent iterative revisions suggested the SPT is usable. However, a formal evaluation was needed to evaluate the SPT’s utility and to more fully understand its impact. As such, in Spring 2019 a summative evaluation was conducted of the utility of the SPT, a climate decision support tool. The SPT’s target audience was surveyed to asses the tool’s saliency, credibility, trustworthiness, and reasons for and impact of information use on decision-making. A high utility was found despite a relatively limited user based at the time of data collection. In addition, SPT users represented a range of jurisdictional sizes, geographical scales, and years of experience. Although the small user sample limits generalizability of the study, it is likely a realistic reflection of the number of emergency managers and planners int he two states who were actively and regularly incorporating climate hazards into planning. The data also indicate that climate boundary organizations and climate service provides should work toward utilizing trusted information sources, channels, and procedures within the sectors to which their tool applies to help increase decision-maker awareness and use of their tool.
The Simple Planning Tool for Climate Hazards, about which the evaluation research is based, has received two awards: The Route Fifty Navigator Award in the Tech Innovators category and the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Planning Association’s 2019 award for Outstanding Public Outreach, Program, Project, Tool or Community Initiative.
For the final paper, click here.
For the conference presentation, click here.