The main shopping street in the town of Akureyri, in northern Iceland, was a pedestrian street for several years. Then certain people wanted to open it for car traffic again, while others opposed it. There were noticeably two different views. When the issue was examined in the town planning office, the idea was raised of holding an opinion poll. The first question that arose was: who should have the right to say what they wanted. Was it the streets´ shopkeepers, all the townspeople or some compromise between these two extremes? Independent of this question, it was decided that sequential choice would not be an appropriate method in this instance because there were really only two alternatives. Admittedly, both could be expressed in various guises, but those in favour of retaining a pedestrian street would not have been willing to place any of the traffic street alternatives above any of the pedestrian street alternatives, and vice versa.
The planning staff took it for granted that there were only two positions. If sequential choice is used in a case like this, then the people who make the survey have no reason to speculate in advance about whether opinion will be divided in this way. Even if there were a fundamental division into two camps, there might still be shades of opinion within each as to how to handle the matter. Sequential choice enables one to sound out what solution each side really favours by putting all the realistic alternatives to the vote, and those within each group do not have to worry about giving the victory to the other side if they express their individual shades of opinion.
The outcome in this case was that motor traffic was allowed on an experimental basis from the pre-Christmas period until the following spring. After that, it was considered as having been demonstrated beyond doubt that people wanted to keep the street as a pedestrian area.