Case Studies

O'Hare Global Terminal rendering.

Federal Aviation Administration

Educating and Engaging O’Hare Communities

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is embarking on an $8.5 billion transformation of its terminals and airfield. Before construction could begin on the O’Hare Global Terminal and the 34 other projects that make up the Terminal Area Plan (TAP), the Federal Aviation Administration needed to evaluate the effects of the plan on the natural and human environment, involving other agencies and the public every step of the way.

The Challenge

The FAA and consultant HMMH engaged Purpose Brand in a multiphase, multiyear public involvement and outreach project to educate the communities around O’Hare and other stakeholders, encourage their comments and help respond to concerns about noise, other environmental issues, architectural preservation and economic impacts. The pandemic forced Purpose Brand to change plans for multiple rounds of in-person public meetings.

The Solution

Due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19, public meetings for both the scoping and draft phases of the project were held online. This required our team to quickly adapt print project plans, educational materials and public awareness efforts.

To best communicate in a virtual format, Purpose Brand produced four scoping videos detailing the project and the environmental process. These videos were later edited and revised for the draft phase, and a new video was created specifically for the environmental assessment impact. These videos were posted on the FAA website with slideshow presentations in English and Spanish and a detailed technical project description.

Spanish interpreters were available at all virtual public meetings, and public notices were published in both English and Spanish-language newspapers to announce the scoping and draft public comment periods. Meeting planning and staffing included coordination of court reporters and Spanish interpreters. Public comments were elicited and captured through a special website as well as by mail and email. 

The FAA team used these comments to shape a 6,000 page environmental assessment. We designed, edited and produced the environmental assessment draft and final documents, including accessibility review for Section 508 compliance. The final version of the assessment was completed and made available to the public in November 2022. Successful completion of the environmental assessment process will allow construction of the O’Hare International Airport expansion to begin.


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