Case Study 1 – Environmental: Infrastructure


SPONSOR: ANV Measurement Systems

PROJECT: Soundbooths for Heathrow’s public consultation on Airspace and Future Operations

COMPANY: Arup and Heathrow


Information relating to changes in aircraft noise can be challenging for communities to understand.

Reading noise contours and decibel levels can have little meaning to those who are directly affected.

To communicate the potential noise impact that stakeholders and communities could be facing, Arup developed three fully mobile Soundbooths equipped with a set of virtual reality sound demonstrations for Heathrow Airport’s 2019 consultation.

The interactive demonstrations allowed people to experience aircraft noise at calibrated levels, enabling the airport to communicate more transparently, meaningfully and effectively with local communities.

For the first time at an airspace public consultation level, the demonstrations have been made available in an interactive virtual reality environment, offering an immersive experience for consultees.

This experience combined a virtual user interface, 360 video footage and 3D planes with detailed spatial audio recordings of aircraft and different background ambient sound recordings.

Other demonstrations included the simulation of different sound insulation schemes, a comparison of aircraft and the effects of alternation (runway and airspace) that could be implemented in the future.

This is an excellent example of collaboration and public engagement, which could be the start of a new approach to presenting information at public consultations.

It builds on a similar initiative for HS2 and is an innovative approach which helps with understanding what the impact will be of proposed changes.