Utility Locate Training for Salt River Project

VR allows for utility locate training to take place in true-to-life environments with complete safety.

Salt River Project is one of Arizona’s largest utility companies, supplying water and power to over 2 million people in central Arizona. When new employees join the workforce, one of the most dangerous tasks they need to learn is how to locate underground utilities before starting a job. The procedure can be risky because of busy roadways and unpredictable traffic. VR is the perfect solution for replicating the stress of the task while keeping the uninitiated safe.

Problem: Locating Utilities Can Be Dangerous and Hard to Replicate

When a new employee is first on a job site, it can be overwhelming. Seemingly simple tasks like a utility locate can be difficult to remember, especially with cars whizzing by on a four-lane highway. SRP knew that they needed a way to train employees quickly and effectively while keeping them safe. They turned to VR for the ability to immerse the trainee, have them experience and react to the hazardous conditions, and get the job done successfully.

Project Goals and KPIs

  • Test the viability of VR to enrich training as part of a blended learning strategy.
  • Allow employees to have true-to-life practice locating underground conductors in busy roadways while staying safe.
  • Decrease time and workload of supervisors who are currently conducting one-to-one on-the-job training.
  • Provide consistent utility locate training to all employees.
  • Build confidence in employees before going out into the field.
  • Asses employees based on their training assessments and scores.
  • See where employees are making mistakes to improve training.


After a competitive RFP process, Motive was the chosen vendor because the project would be built using the Motive Training Platform. SRP needed a solution that would scale by allowing them to change and update content after delivery.

Learning Design

The project kicked off with several scoping meetings where the Motive learning experience design experts and the SRP training team collaborated on the goals for the training and the overall design for the scenarios.

The project would consist of four training modules. All modules will include overarching themes for safety awareness and PPE requirements for the job site.

The first module will consist of onboarding of how to navigate and use the VR scene.

The other three modules will include VR training in locating underground electrical utilities using specialized equipment, in scenarios of increasing complexity:

  • Two-lane residential road
  • Four lane, moderate traffic
  • Six lane, high traffic

Environment Design

In tandem with the learning design, our 3D team got to work creating the training environments and the special equipment needed for the utility locate.

Check out this video of the environment:

Up Next: Utility Locate Training Roll Out

Scenario authoring for the utility locate training is now underway and we are working with the team at SRP using the AGILE development framework – updates and changes are getting sent for review regularly to ensure the end product is what they want and need.

Target roll out to trainees is fall 2021. When the training is delivered, the team at SRP will get upskilled on the Motive Training Platform so that they can make changes to their training and eventually create more scenarios in their custom training environments.

Motive will assist with the training rollout by providing “Train the Trainer” sessions along with best practices tips and guidelines for success. After testing with key stakeholders and a sample group of trainees, SRP will look to scale the solution. They will be able to take on scenario creation themselves with Storyflow. Using Launch, their learning will be distributed through their LMS, SuccessFactors.

residential environment for utility. locate training
Residential Environment for Utility Locate Training
trainee conducting utility locate training
Trainee practicing a utility locate

Are you interested in VR for your workplace?

Are you interested in VR for your utilities training use cases? Let's connect!