April 7, 2016 - No Comments!

Innovation Award Winner: PlaceSpeak’s Whitehorse Corridor- Alaska Highway Project

We had a number of exciting submittals for the third annual Innovation Awards this year. Over the next couple of weeks, we would like to highlight the winners. In the category of Exemplary Implementation Award, PlaceSpeak won for their Whitehorse Corridor - Alaska Highway Project. Below is a guest post from PlaceSpeak. Exciting work they are doing!


 

PlaceSpeak's Whitehorse Corridor - Alaska Highway Project

In 2015, the Government of Yukon commissioned CH2M Hill to draft the functional plan for improvements to the 40 kilometre Whitehorse Corridor section of the Alaska Highway and sought public input on the proposed project. With a growing population in Whitehorse, the highway improvements were necessary to address concerns about safety and congestion, while adhering to current engineering standards.

With a population of just over 33,000 spread across a vast territory, online public consultation was critical in reaching Yukon residents in rural areas for whom in-­person consultations such as public meetings or town halls may be inconvenient or inaccessible.

With a population of just over 33,000 spread across a vast territory, online public consultation was critical in reaching Yukon residents in rural areas for whom in-­person consultations such as public meetings or town halls may be inconvenient or inaccessible.

Yukon residents were asked to review the draft functional plan and provide feedback on safety as well as traffic efficiency and capacity. CH2M Hill established a four­-pronged campaign to gather public input on the project over a two month period. This approach included:

  • An interactive map of the highway proposal
  • A series of 3­D aerial animations showcasing the renovation
  • A survey to gauge public opinion of the proposal
  • A project brochure for the general public delivered to residents

To support the planning process, CH2M Hill utilized PlaceSpeak for their outreach and public consultation. As a location­-based consultation platform, PlaceSpeak bridges the gap between government, planners and citizens by connecting and building ongoing relationships between residents and decision­-makers..

With PlaceSpeak, organizations can inform, consult and engage with the public within a geographically defined area. Since PlaceSpeak users are geo­-verified upon signup, decision-­makers can be sure that the feedback gathered is authentic, legitimate and coming from residents within the affected area.

“CH2M Hill elected to use PlaceSpeak because the interface is straightforward and recognizable, but also because it allows us to geo-­reference responses received,” said Peta Wolmarans, Project Lead. “Given that we are dealing with a 40 km corridor which is used by residents, tourists and for goods movement, it is particularly important for us to understand where feedback originates. The PlaceSpeak platform provided us with this ability.”

The green dots show the geographic distribution of public consultation participants, providing a spatial context to the feedback data collected. As expected, people living directly in the affected area were more likely to participate in the consultation than those who might not be impacted.

The green dots show the geographic distribution of public consultation participants, providing a spatial context to the feedback data collected. As expected, people living directly in the affected area were more likely to participate in the consultation than those who might not be impacted.

PlaceSpeak’s interactivity and ease of use supported high levels of participation. By presenting the project through several engagement features, residents could customize their experience and ensure they obtained relevant information in order to provide informed feedback. The interactive map allows residents to zoom into each of the ten highway segments to view site plans, aerial photos and flyover videos. This made it easy for users to select what information and material they wish to review in a medium that citizens can easily understand and engage with.

An interactive map allowed people to zoom into each of the ten highway segments to view site plans, aerial photos and flyover videos.

An interactive map allowed people to zoom into each of the ten highway segments to view site plans, aerial photos and flyover videos.

“The interactive mapping tool which was developed for the purposes of this project works very well and is a good add-on for this consultation, allowing people to jump to the segment of the corridor in which they are most interested,” said Wolmarans. “The ability to scroll through the mapping, and jump to the video are also great features.”

“The blueprint explorer map was the Yukon Government’s idea, but we immediately understood what they had in mind,” said PlaceSpeak product manager Hugh Stimson. “It was fun to build into the site and I think we really delivered on the promise: taking a bunch of documents and stringing them together in a way that delivered them with spatial context and invited exploration”.

Finally, the integration of an online survey captured authenticated feedback and helped evaluate public opinion around the improvement project. With over 2,600 views and 480 survey responses, the data collected was geographically segmented based on where residents lived, which allowed for more detailed analysis. After the consultation was complete, CH2M Hill reported back to residents about how public input contributed to the project in a report entitled “What We Heard”.

See the Whitehorse Corridor-Alaska Highway consultation here.

Published by: placematters in Uncategorized

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