Mobile working devices for highways

The highways department within Re is responsible for the management, maintenance and improvement of Barnet’s complex and vital highways network.

Background

Barnet Council entered into a Joint Venture (JV) with Capita in 2013. Re (Regional Enterprise) was established to improve and deliver a range of services. Together Re and Barnet Council are providing new ways to deliver and improve these services, bringing together the best of the public and private sector.

The highways department within Re is responsible for the management, maintenance and improvement of Barnet’s complex and vital highways network. Each year Barnet Residents make over 30,000 calls  regarding highways matters from raising potholes to vehicle crossovers and zebra crossings.. The Highways teams therefore need to be ready to arrange completion of reactive repairs sometimes within 24 hours in order to ensure the network is safe for residents.  

Summary

With over 5 million square miles of road and 3.5 million square miles of footpaths, the London Borough of Barnet is the second largest of the London Boroughs. Re have introduced a mobile working solution to allow for the field based management of highways defects. Reported defects are linked into the EXOR database (highways asset management system) enabling the highway network to be managed more effectively and efficiently.

Solution

Re introduced an all-electronic system to enable seamless, field based management of highways defects to be sent between Re’s highways inspectors and Barnet’s highways contractor. The system allows highways inspectors to send information to the EXOR database from site without the need for paperwork or manual input in the information process.

Outcome

Re’s highways safety inspectors report on defects in-situ on mobile devices and upload this data directly onto the central EXOR database.  The information, any required activitiesand the exact location is then issued to the contractor directly from the database. Subsequently this is sent via the contractor’s operational system to their working operatives via their own mobile devices to complete the works. Once complete, the contractor sends information back to Re’s database with photographic evidence of the work undertaken as confirmation of completion.

Having the ability to identify ‘live’ locations of inspectors and engineers as well as working operatives enables managers and call centre staff to contact individuals that are closest to the reported defect or emergency situation.

The introduction of mobile working devices reduces the risk to lone workers as site staff are constantly in contact and can be visible at all times and have access to a panic button in emergencies.

Benefits to Barnet

The mobile solution enables Re to better manage highways defects quickly and seamlessly and provides cost efficiency savings in data processing. Importantly, the quality and accuracy of the data gives the council a more robust insurance defence, with clear electronic records of when inspections and repairs were undertaken along with detailed photographic evidence.

The mobile system also provides historical evidence of where inspectors have been, generating a ‘snail trail’ giving substantiation to the council in defending insurance claims. It clearly shows when individual roads were inspected and what we instructed in line with the Highways Maintenance Manual and Procedures.

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