Durham County Council (DCC) is responsible for managing several large, exciting events to support cultural regeneration and the development of the visitor economy. These include the Bishop Auckland and Seaham Food Festivals, the Durham City Run – and Lumiere, the UK’s light art biennial which attracts over 1 million visitors since 2009. Started by leading UK arts producers, Artichoke, the event invites national and internationally-renowned artists to reimagine familiar buildings and public spaces, using the medium of light.

 

 

The Challenge

 

Whilst beautiful and memorable, Lumiere has the potential to cause mass disruption on the roads in and around Durham City. The event is attended not only by the residents of Durham but also by people from across the UK. Managing traffic and parking, therefore, is a real challenge.

 

Additionally, with such a large attendance, DCC usually experiences a high volume of inbound messages from the public asking questions about the event – particularly transport and highway related queries.

 

In 2021, with the addition of Covid-19 measures adding another layer to the organisation of the event, DCC recognised that Lumiere would require even more diligent planning and coordination to minimise disruption and ensure residents and visitors had access to all the information they needed about the festival.

 

“Lumiere is such a big event; we needed a way to both limit disruption on the roads and communicate key information with the public. The Events solution was perfect. It put all the essential info in one place which could be easily accessed by residents and visitors, helping us keep everyone informed and the roads around the event running.”

Kevin Ferguson, Road and Street Works Systems Supervisor - Durham County Council

 

The Solution

 

DCC has been using Causeway one.network since 2019 to help plot and coordinate highway works and closures. Subsequently, in 2021, Durham implemented our Events solution to help plan and manage the Lumiere event.

 

We worked with the council to create and embed a dedicated, user-friendly map on the DCC website which focused solely on the events associated with Lumiere that impacted the highway network.

 

The event map included road and path closures, diversions, pick-up and drop-off points, the rail station, bus stops and available parking areas, as well as points of interest.

Having all this information easily accessible in a single view located on the DCC website provided visitors and residents alike with one current, accurate and authoritative source of information. 

 

Not only did the council find managing diversions and closures for Lumiere easier with this solution, but it also identified a decrease in public enquiries in comparison to previous years, saving time and enabling staff to focus on other important tasks.

In parallel, the authority also noticed that “hits” on the DCC webpage doubled in the lead up to the event, after embedding the Causeway one.network Events solution. This was a result of members of the public having the ability to self-serve by locating the information they required on the map hosted on the DCC website.

 

Furthermore, for the queries it did receive from the public, DCC was able to quickly direct people to the map and help them find answers to their questions. Correspondingly, the time taken to process, respond and resolve queries was reduced, again freeing up staff time.

The team at DCC was delighted  with the success of the event and how smoothly it ran, and so now uses the platform to coordinate other public events across County Durham. In fact, planning for Lumiere 2023 is already underway!

 

 

 

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