Honolulu Mayor Uses Geodesign for Rail Plan

Peter Carlisle, Mayor of Honolulu, Hawaii, described the role GIS has played for many years in the city’s government. Honolulu has the highest level of traffic congestion in the United States. The mayor sees rail as a plausible solution and GIS as the technology needed for planning the project. He looked to the city’s GIS department to perform analysis and geospatial modeling, and create visualizations of how different transit scenarios would affect development and urban sprawl. In recognition of his progressive thinking and use of goedesign in city planning, Mayor Carlisle was awarded Esri’s Making a Difference Award.

The City of Honolulu used GIS to assess the potential impacts of a rail line.

Mayor Carlisle works closely with the GIS department to create scenarios and understand the proposed rail project. Honolulu’s GIS manager Ken Schmidt collaborated with city planning and engineering departments to create a comprehensive project analysis that included constraints and benefits, predicted future urban development, and created 3D visualizations of different rail corridors. Leveraging the city’s data, Schmidt created the following GIS products for the plan:

  • Urban analysis to predict the effect of growth.
  • Maps of different rail line scenarios.
  • Travel distances from each station on the proposed line to nearby areas.
  • Maps showing best routes for building friendly walking zones to the stations.
  • 3D geometry visualization of the entire corridor area including the rail, rail stations, and surrounding buildings.
  • 3D visualization of the city created with Esri’s City Engine Advanced.
  • Prediction maps of urban growth/sprawl with and without the proposed elevated rail service. The map included a slider tool for comparing the two scenarios in 3D.
  • A hologram from Zebra Imaging of the proposed transit system.

Mayor Carlisle concluded, “GIS makes the plan clear so that people can better understand the proposal and its effect on the city.”

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