Worcestershire County Council (WCC) is responsible for the largest and most visible community asset in the county - a considerable highway network stretching over 2,542 miles. The council play a pivotal role in managing traffic flow for drivers and the county's 592,158 residents - 85% of whom reside in urban area and interurban corridors.

 

 

The Challenge

 

Since 2012, WCC has used Causeway one.network to plan, coordinate, and communicate road and street works information to the public and key stakeholders. Despite this, they continued to face challenges in coordinating their highway network, such as resolving public reports of disruption and managing traffic flow around works and public events.

 

Workflows were time-consuming and less efficient than they are today; teams relied on spreadsheets, lists and Inspectors followed pre-defined routes when out on the network.

Now, with a  commitment to enhancing network reliability and resilience in its Local Transport Plan, WCC has implemented Causeway one.network's Traffic Insights solutions to help monitor, mitigate and reduce disruption on the network.

 

Keep reading or click here to watch the video and learn how Worcestershire embedded these solutions into their processes for impressive results.

 

 

The Solution

 

Accelerating query resolution and alleviating congestion

 

Causeway one.network has become the go-to resource for WCC in addressing and resolving public inquiries, resulting in faster query resolution and reduced congestion. Michael Hastings, the Highways and Transport Customer Service Manager, and his team rely on  Causeway one.network to access historical, current, and future permit information, as well as analyse traffic patterns to investigate queries.

 

Often, members of the public report congestion after the fact, so the team employs Traffic Replay to rewind time and evaluate traffic flow changes over a 24-hour period. This enables them to gauge the severity of congestion and cross-reference disruptions with other network activities to determine the likely cause. Armed with this readily available data, Michael and his team can respond to public queries efficiently, providing precise and accurate information about any delays experienced.

 

Michael told us: "Traffic Replay enables us to look back to different periods in time at what the traffic flows were like then. If we get reports that there was congestion on key routes, let's say during commuting hours, we can have a look and see what was the congestion, how far were the tailbacks, what works were going on in the area and what was the likely cause; it allows us to reflect, take a look at what's happened, what processes we may need to change and adjust in an attempt to mitigate the impact on road users throughout Worcestershire."

 

The Customer team can then work collaboratively with the Street Works team using Causeway one.network's Network Monitor to check whether the disruption persists in real-time. When congestion is still present, WCC conducts in-depth research on the event, project, or scheme causing the delays. They then update traffic management measures promptly to restore smooth traffic flow throughout the network. Street Works Inspectors can also be dispatched directly to the disruption site to implement immediate mitigation strategies.

 

Between Spring and Autumn, when Worcestershire is host to various public events, Traffic Replay proves particularly useful. Following complaints about the Welland Steam and Country Rally, Ed Dursley, the Events & Open Highway Manager, identified traffic build-up surrounding the event on Causeway one.network. As a result, he was able to organise a meeting with the event promoters where he used Traffic Replay to demonstrate the impact on the network. Together, they devised an updated traffic management plan, ensuring smoother traffic flow for future years and minimal disruption for the nearby community.

Alongside special events, Ed and his team rely on Causeway one.network daily to monitor the network in real-time. The Route Monitor module empowers them to track journey times on key routes, evaluate the effectiveness of new road layouts, and identify congestion hotspots requiring attention.

 

Ed said:

"We have a duty to coordinate activity on the network and to reduce disruption and Causeway one.network is an invaluable tool in helping us to do that at Worcestershire County Council."

Inspectors patrolling the network now also rely on Causeway one.network to verify permit conditions for roadworks, street works, scaffolding, and more. By referencing permit information on the one.network map, inspectors can easily identify incorrect measures or instances of works exceeding their designated timeframes.

 

Streamlining and simplifying public communications

 

In addition to accelerating query resolutions, WCC has further enhanced public engagement and communications using Causeway one.network. By embedding the Causeway one.network map into the WCC website, the public can now conveniently access the roadworks information they need, eliminating the need to contact the council. This not only reduces the workload for the Customer team but also enables them to address queries more promptly, thereby freeing up valuable staff time.

 

"Previously to using Causeway one.network, WCC used to use a much more manual process, using spreadsheets and lists. Using Causeway one.network now makes it a lot more quick and efficient: through the embedded map that we have from Causeway one.network onto our website and also by directing customers directly to it, it enables people to see information in a much clearer, easy format. They can access the virtual map, where they can see exactly what the impact is going to be on the network, and for them as individual drivers." - Michael Hastings, Highways and Transport Customer Service Manager, WCC

 

The platform also serves as a vital tool for WCC's outbound communications. Jon Fraser, Head of Highways Engagement, uses Causeway one.network every day to promptly identify and communicate real-time congestion and disruptive projects to the public via WCC's social media channels. As a result, there has been a decrease in public inquiries about traffic and roadworks via social media. He told us:

 

" Causeway one.network is a vastly important tool for us in communication. There's a tab always open on my computer. It's quite often the first point of reference, you know, whenever we get an inquiry. We're even finding that general public and media outlets are turning to Causeway one.network themselves. We link Causeway one.network into our social media channels. Probably the most important one is X - that was formerly Twitter. That cuts down on the number of enquiries that we're getting in. So, again, it makes the whole thing a lot more efficient. A picture speaks a thousand words, really. So a screenshot of some red lines showing a queue with that information is invaluable really for getting the message across and making people make better travel decisions."

 

Managing the network amidst infrastructure projects influx

 

The influx of infrastructure projects, as a result of government schemes like Project Gigabit and the increased pressure on utility companies for water mains improvement and EV charging infrastructure, has significantly impacted the WCC network.

 

The Street Works team has seen a considerable increase in permit applications from fibre network operators. However, the use of Causeway one.network has streamlined the coordination process, making it simpler and more efficient. The platform provides the team with a comprehensive overview of all ongoing and planned activities on the network, enabling them to make more informed scheduling decisions when accepting or rejecting permits.

Furthermore, this holistic view of the network empowers WCC to offer more accurate responses to public inquiries regarding third-party street works.

 

"With Causeway one.network, we're able to take a holistic view of the network in Worcestershire, and it quickly provides an image about what exactly is going on. It's a very, very important, powerful tool that we  use every day." - Jon Fraser, Head of Highways Engagement, WCC

 

Planning for the future

 

In the future, WCC aims to improve incident information on one.network by partnering with organisations like the police to deploy real-time comms solution, Live Link. This collaboration will enable instant updates via sat-nav apps to inform drivers about road and lane closures. The goal is to enhance emergency response times, ensure driver safety, and further optimise traffic flow.

 

 

 

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