California Department of Transportation: 360 Tours

Caltrans found a new way to connect with customers on current and upcoming projects through a $250,000 public engagement tool.

During the pandemic, Caltrans strategies for engaging with internal and external stakeholders changed dramatically. With limited opportunities for face-to-face meetings, the department found it challenging to communicate its intent on numerous issues. Caltrans’ 360 Tours addressed that problem, while taking public engagement to the next level. The agency’s interactive, web-based interface allows stakeholders to explore a construction project using virtual reality. The system works without specialized software or skills. Visitors to the website can “zoom in” to areas of interest and view simulations of impacts like sea-level rise on existing or future roadways. Demonstrating these things visually opens up the process for non-English speaking users, creating more equitable engagement.