The Secret to Speeding Government Infrastructure Project Approval

August 17, 2021

Brian Rock
Accelerated Director of Marketing, Bentley Systems

Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, investment in public works will play a significant role in our nation’s economic recovery. And it’s needed since approximately 60% of the infrastructure required over the next decade has yet to be built.

There will be thousands of projects around the country going through the approval process for funding – and many of them will be delayed due to stakeholder approval. Getting all stakeholders – from executives to constituents – on board with a single vision can be challenging. Projects get delayed in the approval process too often because they don’t energize stakeholders, or they struggle to understand its importance.

A proposal on a piece of paper doesn’t often tell the complete story, and technical plans can be difficult for stakeholders to understand. Telling them how a project will make constituents’ lives better is important, but the story often doesn’t deliver the impact that a visual would. Government agencies need to show stakeholders what new infrastructure can do in order to help them better understand project plans and speed project approvals.

Agencies also need to foster two-way communication. After showing what a project will do, agencies must actively listen to stakeholder feedback. There needs to be less talking to and more conversing with. All stakeholders should be heard and the best way to do this is to encourage and foster engagement.

Finding a solution that helps you speed understanding and gain support will significantly increase your chances of getting approvals. The secret to speeding up this process is creating a clear vision and bridging the communication gaps that get in the way.

Creating a Clear Vision to Overcome Obstacles

Early approvals from executive stakeholders are necessary to move projects along. Streamlining the planning processes and removing some of the early blockers that slow projects can help create a unified view of a project. Creating a clear vision of the finished project while still in the planning phase is the key to getting it in front of the public early and receiving buy-in from all stakeholders.

Specific public events exist that are designed to get public support behind a project, but if constituents can’t grasp what a project will do, they’re unlikely to buy in. Helping constituents visualize what future infrastructure will do and the potential impact it will have is crucial. Finding the right solution to create a clear vision for your stakeholders to overcome these obstacles will potentially improve the process exponentially.

Bridge Communication Gaps

Beyond delivering a clear vision, speeding approvals require the removal of disconnects and the fostering of dialogue. In fact, the 2021 ASCE Infrastructure Grade Report states that educated investment in public works will only be possible if government agencies can deliver project plans free of ambiguity. Solutions that bridge the communications gap to remove disconnects, encourage dialogue, and remove ambiguity will help agencies overcome common roadblocks by:

  • Simplifying Complexity: Bringing multiple data sources together into a single, unified view allows for collaboration with multiple parties in real-time, simplifying complex projects.
  • Fostering Engagement: Visually representing complex data enables everyone to understand a project’s scope and impact. Creating immersive environments that are easily accessible on virtually any device—from the web to phone to public displays—will reach more stakeholders, receive better feedback, and initiate quicker decisions.
  • Driving Efficiency: Creating a holistic view of each project has the potential to bring together multiple data sets and stakeholder feedback into one program. The resulting streamlined workflows and processes reduce the time it takes to arrive at a decision.
  • Reducing Conflict: Agencies that are able to increase transparency and decrease complaints and delays will reduce conflict. Finding solutions to organize assets and data that can be published immediately can help you communicate any changes or alterations more efficiently. Incorporating means to receive feedback can also enable stakeholders to provide opinions and allow citizens to engage more easily.
  • Finding the Right Solution for Your Agency


    Finding one solution to meet all of your project approval and communication needs can be challenging. However, knowing your requirements is an excellent place to start. Plus, you’ll want to determine if you prefer a cloud-based or on-premises solution and if it will work with your legacy systems. Finally, if you have non-technical users, you will also need to know if they can use the solution as easily as your technical users.

    Bentley’s OpenCities Planner City-scale Digital Twin Planning and Visualization Software can help. The platform enables government agencies to show projects in a 3D environment that fully realizes how a project impacts a community. This intuitive solution leverages the project data you have today in a way that allows you to communicate projects more effectively, move them through the approval process, and get your infrastructure projects funded.

    The software works in the cloud to show reality in a virtual world, without adding heavy overhead or infrastructure cost. OpenCities Planner is an easy-to-use platform that ingests and synthesizes a variety of data, making it easy to visualize 2D, 3D, and GIS data in a 3D environment. Plus, it integrates with many legacy systems and can be quickly put to use since it lives in the cloud. OpenCities Planner can also be scaled up to enterprise-level organizations Additionally, since the platform is easy for even non-technical users to operate, you don’t need to be an engineer or designer to use it.

    Finding better ways to help your stakeholders visualize your planned infrastructure projects with a clear vision and bridged communication gaps is the secret to faster approval. Showing them the benefits of your projects will always be more effective than explaining them. Bentley can help.

    Download Our Free Resource to find out how you can get your projects approved with the help of Bentley’s OpenCities Planner City-scale Digital Twin Planning and Visualization Software. Contact a Carahsoft representative and see how Bentley OpenCities Planner can help your organization.