By David Capon
Our streets and roads are the arteries and vessels, carrying the life blood of the nation, delivering utility services and transport to every region. Over the past 20 years, the use of this most important asset has grown enormously. And forecasts for traffic growth predict even greater pressures.
Better methods to manage the network are needed to keep up with increased demand. This includes accurate and timely information about road and street works.
The Industry is clear more information needs to be shared to enable everyone to work better together and help them to make the right decisions. Given advances in technology, there is an expectation from the travelling public for up-to-date and reliable information that will help them to plan their journeys. We need to be creative and innovative about how we can meet the demand and deliver what the public expect.
JAG(UK) is acutely aware that there needs to be improvements in data quality, data management and data usage, all of which are critical in building a platform for a growing and strong economy. This improvement will also allow authorities and utilities to better plan and coordinate works.
With this in mind JAG(UK) are working closely with the department transport who are beginning a project to look at how we might improve the way that data is collected and shared and how we can use this data to co-ordinate activities on the highway more effectively. This will involve assessing both current working practices and user needs, and how we might make the most of the latest technological solutions that are available.
We want to ensure that streets continue to be treated as one of the most valuable assets and that the public can get access to information that they expect in our modern society.
The DfT has already set up a small team to start work on this project, which includes representatives from all areas of the street works community. Work is at an early stage but we will keep you up to date with progress so look out for more details in the coming months.
The street works industry has already modernised in many ways. However, sharing data and better coordination of systems are key to moving things to the next level and we are looking to radically change and modernise the current antiquated system. We hope that you will support this work and we will post periodic updates on progress on the JAG(UK) web site.
David Capon is the JAG(UK) Manager