As the world has moved into Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning is becoming the norm, it seems that technology is shaping our future more and more. In the ever-evolving landscape of urban planning and development, staying ahead of the curve is essential. The next generation of Objective Keyplan leverages the AI to evolve the planning process even further, offering a more efficient and precise approach to policy interpretation and implementation. This groundbreaking technology aims to streamline the often complex and ambiguous world of planning policies by converting them into machine-readable rules, reducing ambiguity, and providing valuable insights.

The Power of AI in Policy Interpretation

The planning policy document is often filled with words, regulations, and guidelines. It's all too easy for interpretations to vary, leading to confusion and frustration. Consider the potential when these policies are converted into rules that AI can interpret and apply consistently. This transformation is precisely what Objective Keyplan’s AI technology investment is set to achieve.

For example, a policy stating that a building height should not exceed 9 metres can be converted into a machine-readable rule. While not all policies can be translated as easily, even if we can convert 40-50% of them, it's a significant leap forward. In fact, many Development Management policies are ripe to be assessed using today’s technology. This shift from vague language to mathematical rules will greatly benefit Consenting Officers and the entire planning process.

Reducing Ambiguity for Consent Management

Ambiguity in planning policies often results in the Development Management Team seeking clarifications from the Planning Policy Team. This back-and-forth not only consumes time but also leads to potential misinterpretations. With AI-driven rules, policies will become more black-and-white. If a policy can be expressed as a rule with specific values, the AI can determine whether a project complies or not. This automation removes ambiguity and ensures a clearer understanding of policy intent.

While AI can provide automated recommendations based on policy rules, it's important to note that Consenting Officers retain the authority to override these recommendations. However, this override capability is not just a convenience; it offers valuable insights. When you quantify how often a particular policy is overridden, it becomes a signal. If, for instance, a policy is overridden nine out of ten times, it prompts a conversation with the Planning Policy Team. This data-driven approach can lead to policy refinements and improvements, making the planning process more efficient and effective.

Objective Keyplan facilitates LPA’s to easily monitor the Authority Monitoring Report. It captures the policies involved in each planning application, detailing whether the policy is met or overridden. This data-centric approach to Consent Management, allows planners to closely monitor the report.

The development of Objective Keyplan’s AI technology is not a solitary endeavour; it's a response to the needs and challenges faced by planning professionals. Through consultations with Heads of Planning in the UK, New Zealand and Australia, it has become evident that AI-driven policy interpretation is seen as a helpful and necessary advancement. The goal is to make policies more machine-readable, allowing for smoother planning processes and fewer disputes over interpretation.

The Future of Digital Planning Policy

Objective Keyplan is designed to seamlessly integrate with existing Case Management systems. This means that Consenting Officers will be able to not just see the policy but see all the links to the research that went into that policy statement. When applying the rules the system will be able to automatically provide valuable feedback to the Planning team on how that rule is performing in the real world. It's about making their jobs easier, providing them with clear data, and enabling more informed decision-making.

The future of planning lies in technology, and Objective Keyplan is at the forefront of this transformation. With the ability to integrate with existing systems, Objective Keyplan will be a game-changer in intelligent place-making. In today’s data-driven world, policies must absolutely be treated as data from the start, even if they’re displayed as plain text to the human eye. As we move forward with the next evolution of Objective Keyplan, we can look to AI to deliver a more efficient, transparent, and data-driven planning process. Watch this space!