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Norfolk Council saves £300k on its winter road service

Using OS data and a web based routing tool, savings of £300k were made by re-thinking the delivery of winter road services.

Norfolk County Council (NCC) has a 6,000 mile road network, including 2,000 miles of A, B and C class roads which need snow and ice maintenance in winter.

Looking to make service efficiencies, the Council needed to re-think how it delivered these winter services. Using OS data and a new web based routing tool, significant efficiencies and £300k of savings have been achieved in 14/15.

What were the challenges?

  • Making efficiences to the winter service on Norfolk roads following budget cuts in 2013/14.
  • Making significant changes to NCC’s service delivery model.
  • Providing accurate information to drivers and the public to support the service.
  • Making route information more understandable to drivers, who particularly struggled at night when street names aren’t easily seen.

What was the solution?

OS Integrated Transport Network (ITN) layer and OS MasterMap Topography layer has provided the basis of the solution to winter service routing, realising considerable savings in terms of time spent and accuracy in optimisation of winter routes.

Matt Worden, Maintenance Projects Manager, NCC

NCC’s Highways Maintenance Central Team (HMCT) and the Corporate Information Exploitation Team worked together and successfully developed a web based routing tool utilising OS data to enable the gritting routes to be created and optimised without the need for expensive desktop software and skilled GIS Analysts.

The tool also helps to manage the many changes to the priority treatment network routing, including extending the duty time for drivers and treatment length per individual route/vehicle. OS ITN Route Restrictions Information prevented routes being created that, for example, entered one way streets the wrong way.

It was also the chance to review the way information was displayed to route drivers following feedback that the written and descriptions were difficult to understand. The output from the tool, map books including supporting text turn instructions, made it easier for the drivers to follow the correct route.

What were the outcomes?

  • A slick routing tool that makes it easy to create and update gritting routes quickly.
  • Total savings in excess of £300k for season 14/15.
  • Savings of six gritting trucks at £70k per vehicle.
  • Considerable cost savings to buying an ‘off the shelf’ solution.
  • Routing can be reviewed in more detail than ever before and clear information given on the treatment required.
  • The public can get quick information on gritted and un-gritted travel.

The products used

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