AECOM launches virtual public consultation tool
Globally available tool allows clients to continue driving public engagement with their projects during the coronavirus pandemic
AECOM, the world’s premier infrastructure firm, has launched an interactive web-based tool that allows clients to engage and consult stakeholders from their computer or mobile device. By providing a more resilient approach to community engagement, the new tool will allow clients to engage with a wider audience who cannot attend in-person meetings during consultation periods.
“In the face of unprecedented challenges, it was critical that we create a seamless digital environment to visualise projects, meet virtually and bring communities together in partnership with our clients around the world,” Kevin Carlson, AECOM’s Global Lead for Digital Transformation, comments. “Over the next few months, we will continue to focus on bringing new collaborative experiences, driven by our global expertise in digital delivery, to the marketplace.”
Through the new platform, a virtual event can be personalised to show consultation materials, including virtual reality and sound demonstrations, videos, maps, plans, and pop-up banners. The tool allows for instant feedback so public reaction can be captured and saved for analysis and accurate reporting. There is also a chat function so on-hand experts can answer questions remotely as visitors look around the materials, similar to what would take place during an in-person event.
“We already use a number of digital tools during our community engagement sessions such as visualisations, sound demonstrations, and interactive apps, so it makes complete sense to bring them together on a digital platform,” Andy Thomas, AECOM’s head of Visualisation & VR in EMEA, adds. AECOM clients East Lothian Council, Oxfordshire County Council, Public Health England and the US Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, have already signed up to use the public consultation tool.
“The use of digital engagement tools enables stakeholders and communities to understand proposals, so as to provide an informed response and participate in the consultation process. This tool means that process can reach a wider audience for more widespread buy-in for major infrastructure projects,” Thomas highlights.
“Using this web-based tool, clients can engage with a wider audience and communicate the impact and benefits of proposed schemes to communities without people leaving their own homes,” James Sachon, AECOM’s technical director of the Stakeholder Engagement team, explains. “This remote approach to stakeholder engagement during the coronavirus pandemic provides our clients and partners with a resilient solution to any consultation process.”
Amid the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, AECOM is doing everything it can to help ensure the safety and well-being of its employees, maintain operational resilience and provide solutions that can help clients and communities along the path to recovery.