Wigan Council’s highway infrastructure assets have a total value of around £1.6bn, primarily forming 1,160km of adopted highway networks. The council is currently focusing on delivering a major programme of investment in developing its highway network to open up key areas to support economic, social and environmental renewal. At the same time, as the highway authority, the council has a statutory duty to maintain the highway network in a condition to enable the safe passage of the travelling public.
In order to achieve this, the council has been using Yotta’s Mayrise asset management suite. Mayrise is used as its main highways asset database and safety inspection scheduling. This technology also acts as a full audit system for the council, whose insurance team use it to defend claims resulting from injuries incurred on the highway.
While Wigan Council has always been happy with the rich functionality that Mayrise has provided, it has also commissioned Yotta to help it to manage the machine-based scanner surveys that were a requirement of the Department for Transport (DfT), together with a wide variety of course visual inspections, scanner data and hierarchy one footway data.
While the systems Wigan Council uses are critically important, the data it gathers is vital also – and, over time, the council has commissioned Yotta to undertake a variety of data collection exercises.
Wigan Council worked closely with Yotta on the development of one of the country’s first ever gulley silt level surveys. The council has used the data from the survey carried out by Yotta to help provide silt depth trends over a three-year period to help determine how frequently road gullies may need emptying.
Prior to implementing Horizons, Wigan carried out most of their highways analysis using excel spreadsheets. It was typically a slow and cumbersome approach. Multiple road conditioning indices (RCIs) had to be entered manually into the sheets. Any attempt at whole lifecycle planning was out of the question.
The implementation of Horizons changes the game completely for Wigan and drives a raft of operational efficiencies. “One of the great benefits is its flexibility,” explains Purcell. “Carriageway deteriorates at different speeds in different parts of the country, depending on usage and age, and that obviously impacts the kinds of treatment sets that would be best suited for different stretches of the network. Working directly with the Yotta team, we have been able to adjust the models used in Horizons to provide a more accurate insight into the treatment sets we need. It has given us huge confidence in Yotta’s aptitude as expert consultants and in the capabilities of the Horizons asset management software.
“We are already seeing the tangible benefits of this,” he adds. “With the use of Horizons, we have witnessed an improvement in condition performance for the same spend and we are fine tuning deterioration models for our highway network that have produced a long term planned programmes of work. The deterioration modelling offered by Horizons really helped Wigan Council to submit a very comprehensive bid for the DfT’s Challenge Fund of which Wigan Council was successful in winning two bids.”
The Horizons tool is used by Wigan Council to improve its banding in the Government new self-assessment incentive scheme for highway funding. To get its full funding entitlement, likely to be worth some £2.7 million to the council over the course of the next four to five years alone, Wigan needs to be deemed a band three authority.
Wigan is also set to become more innovative in the way it uses the Mayrise asset management software suite. The authority has just recently got a business case agreed to purchase 12 handheld personal digital assistant (PDA) devices to use with the Mayrise software. Purcell explains the benefits of using Mayrise on mobile devices in tandem with Horizons.
“We are now going mobile on the street with Mayrise,” he says. “We will be taking photographs of defects and logging them electronically and then the resulting ‘reservoir’ of GIS data can be imported straight into Horizons, so we can see where the defects are on each street, how many there are and when they occurred.
“We expect to make significant time and cost savings as a result. The new approach enables us to move away from the old time-consuming process of the on-site inspector manually taking notes and taking photos with his camera before returning to the office; typing up his notes and then trying to copy the file off his camera phone.”
“Yotta’s strategic consultancy has been key to shaping our whole approach to highways infrastructure and asset management. We use Yotta and its asset management software solutions, Mayrise and Horizons, across all aspects of our highways operations, from scheduling safety inspections to defending insurance claims to bidding for government funding. Since we started working together 10 years ago, we’ve recorded an increase in claims repudiation rates and a reduction in highway claims generally in addition to effciencies in timeliness of completing scheduled highway safety inspections, which helps defend claims more successfully.”
John Williams, Highways Asset Manager, Wigan Council
The council has been using the Mayrise Street Lighting module since 2006, primarily to generate and manage planned maintenance; electrical testing schedules and works orders, which can all be issued directly through Mayrise to their Direct Labour Organisation (DLO) or external contractors.
“It’s a streamlined and effcient process,” says Nick Gee, Street Lighting, Wigan Council. “It’s also a huge benefit, enabling us to reduce costs and save operational time, to have all of this capability embedded within a single software solution. Details of faults can be issued directly to the contractor via Mayrise and updates made from the site when work has been completed; which gives management an up-to-date 360° view of the status of street lighting faults and schedules at any one time. This in turn is supporting fast and accurate decision-making. This far outstrips any capability we have previously had in place.”
Delighted with the benefits that both Horizons and Mayrise have brought it so far, Wigan Council is already actively planning to expand both its relationship with Yotta and its usage of the two core software tools. According to Williams, “Both solutions give us the flexibility and
versatility we need to plan for the future. Combining Horizons and Mayrise gives us the chance to photograph defects and link them and the repair back to the same work ticket in real time, which will allow us to defend compensations claim more robustly and successfully. We also see Horizons as the ideal tool for lifecycle planning, enabling us to determine what our budgets need to be to achieve the conditions both we and the public want for Wigan’s highways network. Thanks to Yotta and its versatile solutions, we can look to the future with confidence.”