This year’s John Connell Innovation Award winner AECOM utilises powerful sound demonstrations for Stonehenge

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AECOM helped Highways England to effectively communicate proposed changes to the landscape around Stonehenge and the A303 to its key stakeholders by creating sophisticated audio simulations. They could simulate the changes in acoustics after building a tunnel to replace a road nearby to reduce traffic congestion, and helped stakeholders to experience the changes in noise and visual impact of traffic for the World Heritage Site (WHS).

Russell Richardson, Honorary Secretary to the Institute of Acoustics, said: “Working on behalf of Highways England, this year’s Innovation Award deservedly goes to AECOM for establishing a new standard of best practice via sound demonstration and visualisation technology on future road schemes. The simulation allows one to instantly experience and understand not just the addition of unwanted noise, but also the reduction and removal of such unwanted sounds. This provides various stakeholders an opportunity to appreciate the value in planned investments.” 

In second place the highly commended award went to Temple Group & Flo with its  “Northern Line Extension Auralisation Animations and Community Engagement Programme.”

The Institute of Acoustics (IOA) is the proud sponsor of the John Connell Innovation Awards in 2018, and supported the previous year’s award which went to Brigade Electronics UK.

The John Connell awards, now in their 17th year, are presented by the Noise Abatement Society who work closely with industry, government, local government, NGOs and members of the public to help find pragmatic solutions to every type of noise problem.

Gloria Elliott OBE, Chief Executive, Noise Abatement Society, commented: “Innovation is the bedrock of change and the winners of this year’s John Connell Innovation Award, kindly sponsored by the Institute of Acoustics, have put into practical application good acoustic design and community engagement to achieve sustainable solutions.”

Institute of Acoustics (IOA)

The Institute of Acoustics is the UK’s professional body for those working in acoustics, noise and vibration, representing some 3,000 members who span a rich diversity of backgrounds, with engineers, scientists, educators, lawyers, occupational hygienists, architects and environmental health officers among their number.

Formed in 1974, the Institute of Acoustics is the UK’s professional body for those working in acoustics, sound, noise and vibration. With over 3000 members from many and varied backgrounds, it brings together academics, practitioners and manufacturers. Its founding principle is to promote and advance the art, science and technology of acoustics in all its aspects. From its earliest days, the Institute has been the first port of call for legislators and regulators and, through specialist working groups, support is given to the development of legislation and guidance in these areas, and there is considerable activity by Institute members in UK, European and International Standards development.

John Connell Awards

The ‘John Connell Awards’ were established by the Noise Abatement Society in 2001 to recognise local authorities, industry, individuals and organisations judged to have been outstanding in their efforts to both reduce the impact of noise nuisance and seek to pioneer practical and innovative solutions to noise pollution.

Additional details on award winners:


AECOM– “Sound Demonstrations used at Statutory Public Consultation on Major Road Scheme for the first time – A303 Stonehenge Amesbury to Berwick Down”

The planned upgrades to the A303 Stonehenge – Amesbury to Berwick Down Scheme – include junction improvements and a tunnel under Stonehenge that will reduce traffic congestion, noise and the visual impact of traffic from the World Heritage Site.

Highways England wanted to clearly communicate the proposed changes to this iconic landscape and its soundscape for the community’s benefit. Working together, Highways England and AECOM produced a pioneering and innovative solution that addressed a complex problem and set a new standard for itself and other governing highways infrastructure bodies for communicating road traffic noise impacts at consultation. The resulting sound demonstrations were used for the first time in a UK major road scheme statutory public consultation, making noise and visual impact intuitive to understand, accessible to a wider demographic while helping to allay fears, and communicate the facts about the scheme to stakeholders.

This new application of immersive technology was a successful innovation and collaborative effort across teams, and has helped to promote constructive discussion about noise with residents and other stakeholders.

INNOVATION AWARD [Highly Commended]

TEMPLE GROUP & FLO –  “Northern Line Extension Auralisation Animations and Community Engagement Programme”

The construction of the Northern Line Extension in central London has required major construction sites close to residential and commercial properties, often with works taking place during the evening, night and at weekends. The control of noise and vibration during construction has been a major challenge faced while delivering the programme.

However, through proactive engagement with local stakeholders through Community Liaison Group meetings and drop in sessions demonstrating that their best interests were being considered, and by investing in complex Auralisation Animations, buy-in from residents was able to be achieved for the use of Acoustic Sheds to mitigate some of the noisiest works. This meant that it was possible to avoid some costlier to the public purse, more disruptive to residents and arguably less effective mitigation options (e.g. insulation and secondary glazing) to potentially affected properties or temporary re-housing of potentially affected residents.