Can infrastructure delivery be sped up? Expert panel recommends AI-enabled early engagement

Using new technologies in planning could transform the process and help delivery badly needed new infrastructure, according to a new report from the Linear Infrastructure Planning Panel (LIPP).
The report reiterates the urgent need to speed up planning, scoping, consenting and delivery of infrastructure, especially essential services like electricity transmission and distribution, water and wastewater.
“New planning technologies have the potential to help infrastructure to be delivered faster, greener, in the right places and with greater community acceptance – and lower cost,” said Sharon Darcy, Panel Chair of LIPP. “For this potential to be realised, a significant transformation in our approach to planning must occur.”
The group warned that planning processes engage public stakeholders too late in the day, fostering an atmosphere of mistrust that results in delays and escalating costs. The public is not prepared for the number of decarbonisation and tensions between developers and local stakeholders are growing.
The LIPP wants to see artificial intelligence and other innovative technologies used to streamline processes, engage the public earlier and improve efficiency and outcomes. It says by collecting, synthesising, and analysing vast amounts of data, new techniques can radically speed up planning processes and facilitate more informed forecasting and optioneering at the strategic and project levels. Digital platforms can also enable collaboration and visualisations, supporting engagement processes and more dynamic and responsive decision-making.
“Adopting new technologies for infrastructure planning isn’t just about improving efficiency; it’s about reimagining how we engage with communities, maintain decision-making legitimacy, and overcome collective problems,” said Darcy. “The recommendations in the white paper serve as a road map for all stakeholders involved in national infrastructure projects.”
Download the report here

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