Project: VicRoads - Western Upgrades
Location: Melbourne's Outer Western Suburbs
Goal: To improve the operation of the road network, improve safety, travel times and reliability and provide better access to employment centres, freight hubs and recreation spaces.
To keep up with Melbourne's rapid population growth in the outer suburbs, the outer suburban arterial road network required upgrades to improve safety, travel times and reliability and provide better access to employment centres, freight hubs and recreation spaces. VicRoads have identified eight priority projects in Melbourne's outer western suburbs to improve the operation of the road network. The community and stakeholders were invited to give feedback on thedesigns so far via a Social Pinpinpoint interactive map. The feedback will be used to inform the design process and work with construction companies to refine the designs throughout 2017.
“This is one of the biggest ever projects to update suburban arterial roads and it's going to create jobs, cut travel times and congestion and improve safety. We’re building better roads for Victorian families to get them home safer and sooner to their loved ones.”
– Premier Daniel Andrews
The Victorian Government has made one of the biggest investments ever for outer suburban roads. The program includes eight arterial road upgrades in the outer west to be delivered within five years, as well as a contract for a further 10 years of maintenance for more than 700 lane kilometres of road, spanning from Werribee to Footscray.
VicRoads want to ensure the community and stakeholders are given the opportunity to have their say on projects that impact them. VicRoads needed to provide many opportunities for the community to get involved, learn about key projects and influence project outcomes.
Solution - Implementing Social Pinpoint
The Social Pinpoint outreach tool was designed to help:
- Gain an understanding of key issues from the local community that are important to consider for the long term success of the outer western roads
- Find out what community members like and don’t like about the planned upgrades for the suburbs.
- Help identify key locations for supporting features and any additional infrastructure needs.
- Understand key community priorities that are important for this project.
The portal featured feedback and ideas from the community based on their experiences and needs based in the outer west. VicRoads were also looking for the ability to overlay the design onto the existing road design, the ability to get comments and for them to be visible to the rest of the community and the ability to add in information.
Social Pinpoint interviewed Laura Middleton, the Senior Advisor Communications & Stakeholder Engagement from VicRoads about her experience using the mapping software for the current VicRoads projects.
"Community engagement is important to seek feedback and get community opinions on proposed plans, as well as to gain further insight into travel patterns, road use and access in the area and potential impacts,"
Says Middleton, "Social Pinpoint is a useful engagement tool to display VicRoads proposed road upgrade designs and a chance for the community to leave comments and view each others comments."
Social Pinpoint made it easy for VicRoads to communicate with the public. They created a customised platform for the community to share ideas and comments so could feel as though they were participating directly in the projects happening in their communities, and to help shape it as accurately as possible.
Outcome - It's all in the Statistics
"Based on other engagement we completed in the area, we were hoping for around 500 comments and we ended up reaching 863," said Middleton when asked about the outcome of the project.
The average user spent this long on the site commenting, creating & partaking in discussions with other members of the community.
The project had an overwhelming response from the community - receiving over 9,400 viewers
Number of comments received on the interactive map during the engagement phase.
Social Pinpoint created a strong feedback platform between the members of the area and VicRoads, so there was clear communication during the projects. Incorporating an interactive component to their online strategy allows easy access and availability for community members to give their input.
As part of the project engagement strategy, VicRoads also held pop up sessions to promote their online engagement tools and speak directly with the community. Their statistics showed that the engagement was considered a success and the interactive map provided an exciting way to get involved with the growing community.