Supporting participation in planning new roads by using virtual reality systems
Journal article, 2007
A road planning process runs through several phases, takes several years, incorporates many decision-making procedures and includes numerous experts and interest groups from different areas. Today, Virtual Reality (VR) systems can benefit this process. By simulating different future alternatives, together with their possible environmental impact, a common understanding of the consequences of the respective alternatives can be obtained. Furthermore, since many of the models are obtainable from the Internet, a wider public can be reached already in the early phases of the planning process. The goal of the paper is to provide a better understanding of the use of VR models for supporting involvement and collaboration in the road planning process. The background data are from two large road planning projects through cultural heritage areas in Sweden. Observations on using VR models to support public participation, and facilitate communication between different interested parties, are presented. The results argue for the benefits of using VR models during the whole road planning process and shed further light on a range of social issues associated with using this technology.