Modern Technology for Better Project Communication, Collaboration, and Community Consensus
by Lynn DiGiovanni
A Little Background
Luchs Consulting Engineers/DeCarlo & Doll Architects (Luchs) has been designing vertical and horizontal improvements to Connecticut’s cities and towns for over seven decades. As a Connecticut-grown small business, our staff is vested in the outcome of the work we do because we are an integral part of the communities we serve: We are property owners and commuters, we push strollers and ride bikes, our friends and families own businesses that sustain our local economies. What’s more, our office is located in an emerging Transit-Oriented Development district, so we understand firsthand the impact transportation design has on the social, economic, and environmental well-being of our communities. We also understand the challenges of communicating with a diverse group of stakeholders who have a wide variety of knowledge and interests.
Communication, Collaboration, and Community Consensus
Over the years, our work has taught us that effective communication, collaboration, and community consensus are critical to helping cities and towns maintain their unique character while improving the health, safety, and connectedness of their communities.
Synthesizing all the relevant data into a cohesive, responsive, and community-supported design is where the art of design lies. To be successful, a design must be reflective of existing conditions, in compliance with regulations, in alignment with available funding, and most critically, have the support of the community behind it. In service of that, experts such as transportation engineers and streetscape architects, regulatory agencies, state and federal funding partners, as well as the community at large, must work seamlessly together. This is where the Luchs team excels.
Luchs specializes in providing interactive, 3-D virtual models of infrastructure designs using a unique Rapid Design Visualization technology system (RDV). From internal design coordination to public outreach, RDV allows for the seamless collaboration, presentation, and sharing of design options in an easy-to-understand visual format. Its unique interactive platform allows viewers to virtually navigate proposed design options on foot, on bike, or in a vehicle to better understand what proposed infrastructure changes will look and feel like. This is especially helpful during public information sessions.
Bringing Projects to Life
RDV superimposes alternate design models on existing conditions to make selection of the best project possible, and then brings the selected project to life. With the click of a mouse, users of the interactive 3-D software are able to freely navigate to any point within a project area. Scale images of cars, pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as pavement striping, curbs, medians, street lights, and other streetscape features enhance the virtual experience.
Beyond immediate viewing, video clips of alternate designs can be easily shared through a variety of media via links to support project collaboration, coordination, and public outreach activities.
Moving Forward without Interruption
Remote collaboration has become a critical necessity in order to keep our cities and towns safely moving forward during the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual format of RDV allows for the design process to continue without interruption. Technical collaboration, model viewing, and the communication so essential for planning and implementation is able to go on seamlessly despite the current need for virtual meetings and remote work environments. These capabilities will continue to be valuable as our communities adapt to a new way of doing business.
RDV in action
Using RDV, the Luchs team provided an interactive 3-D visualization model of the proposed reconstruction of Main Street (Route 34) in downtown Derby, Conn. The model was used for remote project collaboration and public information sessions. Its user-friendly, interactive format was effective in illustrating how proposed infrastructure improvements would look and feel to pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers while improving safety, traffic flow, and comfort for those moving in and around Main Street. The 3-D model included existing conditions and multiple design options.
RDV was also essential in planning and public outreach activities for the Meriden Green project in Meriden, Conn. Before a shovel was in the ground, stakeholders had the opportunity to experience the proposed park and all its features from a variety of vantage points.
Luchs and RDV. Using modern technology to design better communities…together.
Lynn DiGiovanni is business development manager at Luchs Consulting Engineers/DeCarlo & Doll Architects.
The following links provide a Virtual Tour of our 3-D visualization model for these projects.
Main Street (Route 34), Derby, CT – http://vtour.123bim.com/RZPD/
Meriden Green, Meriden, CT – http://vtour.123bim.com/DSUR/
Note that the virtual tour feature has the simplest and lowest level of detail, so it can be made available for viewing through a website link or QR code scan. However, for presentation purposes, a PC-based application is used for a much more powerful viewer experience.