The UK Government is tackling disruption caused by street / highway works as a high priority and radical changes are in the pipeline. Starting in 2005, these changes will increase costs and liability of fines. Lane rental pilot trials give a lane rental bill p.a. of £1.25 million (assuming 1 day / job) for average Utilities that dig 25,000 holes p.a. An overrun of a single day for 10% digs incurs a minimum liability of £250,000. The balancing act for Utilities is to provide IT solutions that help reduce these costs now whilst keeping abreast of future implications.
Important changes include: the Traffic Management Act revamping record keeping and the AMTEC report with a national framework for using information systems which the Department for Transport (DfT) is taking forward. This project keeps participants abreast of these changes i.e. approaches to recording / exchanging asset location data, overhaul of the National Street Gazetteer and linking to OS digital mapping.
Sharing the costs of examining software solutions will enable Utilities to pool resources in evaluating alternatives cost effectively. e.g. Using efficient scheduling software to ensure the street is only booked for the time needed reduces lane rental charges or providing information in the right format via the National Street Gazetteer reduces fines. Opportunities for smarter job planning / scheduling to minimise costs / administration will also be assessed to gain wider benefits.
- Reduced risk by understanding implications of new legislation and enabling Utilities to plan IT, process changes and investments, thus avoiding abortive expenditure.
- Cost effective purchasing with shared cost, independent guidance on software tools.
- Significantly reduced costs of street works and improved public image.
- Wider efficiency savings through improved business processes.