The Netherlands – PlaceSpeak a location-based civic engagement GIS platform, won the Geospatial Excellence Award for the Whitehorse Corridor Alaska Highway Improvement Project.
On behalf of the Yukon Government, engineering firm CH2M Hill was commissioned 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.
The Yukon Government encouraged all Yukon residents to review the draft functional plan and provide feedback on safety as well as traffic efficiency and capacity. Through the use of PlaceSpeak’s GIS platform and the engagement features, 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 3-D aerial animations showcasing the renovation, a survey to gauge public opinion of the proposal, as well as a project brochure for the general public which was also home-delivered.
By using PlaceSpeak, the Yukon Government achieved its objective by developing solutions to address the existing safety and capacity needs of the Whitehorse Corridor. The feedback gathered was analyzed and evaluated based on how highway users may be affected by the proposed highway improvements. Overall, public input helped provide a strategy to meet the needs of a growing population and economy, and comments received contributed to the final corridor design. Work on the corridor is scheduled to begin in 2016 following the finalization of the plan and legislative approval.
PlaceSpeak is unique as it solves the problem of how to engage with people online, within specific geographical boundaries. Organizations of all types directly or indirectly require consultation on a range of issues, most of which are geographically defined. In this case, it is very clear who the affected population is, and a tool like PlaceSpeak ensures that their voices are prioritized and heard.