Road Condition of Local Authority Managed Roads - Essential ways to Improve your Highways Condition
In December 2019, the Department for Transport released the newest version of their transport statistics: "Transport Statistics Great Britain 2019." It involved a wealth of data including how the public use transportation, the amount and length of journeys, and other travel information.
There were 246,700 miles of road in Great Britain in 2018, this means there is an awful lot of road network that needs maintaining. With maintenance funding and highway
budgets becoming ever more constrictive however, it is essential to make sure you are using your funds in the most effective areas. We know year on year you may have more roads to maintain and likely the same budget or less to maintain them with which is why an asset management approach must be adopted as opposed to a reactive maintenance regime.
Footways and cycle paths are also becoming increasingly more important to prioritise in maintenance. With rising cycle usage and travel distances and an increase in people walking at least once a week, these assets are becoming more heavily trafficked and it can be anticipated that they will deteriorate at a quicker rate therefore. Moreover, with the public becoming ever more conscious of the environment, this could be a trend that increases into the future. Conversely, with the rise of electric vehicles this could also
have the effect of encouraging driving over walking or cycling as there are not as many negative environmental impacts.
So when you are free to prioritise spending as appropriate to meet local needs, it can be difficult. We know that having a tight budget and a lot of assets to maintain it can seem like an impossible task. So how can you ensure you are utilising your resources the best? We have some suggestions below:
Consistency is key: Make sure year on year you gather accurate survey data. You already know the importance of this data but making sure it is consistent is essential. Make sure you are using reputable suppliers, which can ensure you have the right data available for making important maintenance decisions.
Public input: Having a forum where the public can input information about road conditions, infrastructure problems, and improvement
suggestions can be a vital resource. It can also be helpful to see if public perception matches with the expectations held internally, which are based on highways condition data, empirical evidence, and engineering and asset management judgement.
Utilising your data effectively: Make sure you are making the most of your highways condition data. You have invested in it, after all, and you should use as much of it as you can within decision-making processes! There is so much value and functionality in your data, some of which you may not be aware of yet. To improve data usage and wider asset management therefore, industry-stakeholder groups such as the VOCAL Roads Group exist to empower organisations by giving access to industry information and best practice case studies. Through industry collaboration therefore, local authorities can gain maximum value from condition data and in turn can make real-world infrastructure
improvements through an asset management approach.
Footways and country roads: Walked surveying can provide detailed condition
data and is great for footways and remote locations where access can be problematic and you may have a lot of obstructions such as parked cars. Alternative and robust collection methods may also be worth considering when thinking about your data collection strategy. This is why we are always striving for innovation and we have new data collection technology and methods available including our ATLAS quad-bike which is an alternative method for surveying footways, cycleways and other remote locations.
For industry advice or for more information on our latest innovations and services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01926 298307.
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