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The Holistic Digitization of Impact Assessment: A Global Perspective

Wednesday, August 26
12:00–12:45 PM PT
 | 3:00–3:45 PM ET

About the Session

We have greater access to cutting-edge technology and techniques and more and better ‘green’ data than ever before, yet the environmental impact assessment profession at large has largely been slow to capitalize on these tools and, as a result, is currently failing to maximize its effectiveness and so too the potential for sustainable outcomes.An examination of the state of the art, particularly in the context of much needed digital enhancement, shows us that the environmental impact assessment process is

  • Manual and unintelligently linked, creating barriers to the dynamic flow of data;
  • Missing key environmental and social insights;
  • Failing to maximize the value of stakeholder engagement; and
  • Retaining a high-level of preventable risk.

AECOM’s critique of the current environmental impact assessment workflow identifies significant improvement opportunities. AECOM’s industry-leading work into the digitization of this process identifies six primary areas of focus:

  • Environmental Asset Data Management;
  • Advanced technologies;
  • Environmental Analytics
  • Data Visualization and Digital Reporting; and
  • Agile Environmental Management.

When considered together, these cutting-edge approaches and the improvement potential they bring represent an evolutionary change in practice, one that is fully digitized, intelligent, and holistically linked. This is AECOM’s Integrated Digital Environmental Impact Assessment. As a pioneer in this evolution, AECOM sees that this new approach is critical to driving much needed change, both in the environment sector and the wider construction industry, that it can support our proposed actions to realize greater environmental sustainability, social equitability, and economic efficiency.However, this transformation is not without its challenges. To realize such a bold vision will require an evolution of current working practices, a shift to new data-driven business models, new skills sets, and a re-shaping of environment team profiles.


  • NEPA

About the Speaker

 Ross Stewart Photo

Ross Stewart
Chartered Environmental Scientist and Principal Impact Assessment Consultant

Mr. Stewart is a Chartered Environmental Scientist and Principal Impact Assessment Consultant in the Environment and Planning team at AECOM, London. He has 9 years of experience in the wider environmental sector, including the public, private, and non-profit arenas. In his current role, Ross provides pre-consent environmental management support to nationally significant infrastructure projects in the UK, with a focus on transportation infrastructure. Ross recently completed an 18-month secondment on the internationally recognized A303 Stonehenge highway improvement scheme. In addition to his environmental management roles, Ross is currently leading the digital transformation of AECOM’s environmental impact assessment services. He is coordinating a diverse network of AECOM colleagues globally to identify, implement, and integrate digital improvement projects at each stage of the environmental impact assessment workflow. Having presented at several international conferences and written several articles on the subject, Ross is establishing himself as a leading figure in this critical area of innovative work. The application of these innovative digital technologies to the NEPA process in the US will be explored during the presentation.

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