Lee Bennett
Lee Bennett

When the Department for Transport introduced Street Manager in July 2020, one of the main aims was to foster collaboration through visibility of the whole network, and the provision of national Open Data aids this objective. Symology’s latest, award-winning solution, Aurora, makes this Open Data available to all its users as part of the out-of-the-box solution and at no additional cost.

Aurora includes the data sets you need as standard:
  • Own Promoter historical, current and future works
  • All Promoter works using Open Data
  • Authority Section 58 Restrictions
  • Other Authority Activities, such as Highways Licences
  • National Street Gazetteer
  • Associated Street Data (ASD)

Promoter works

When promoting street works, visibility of your own current and future works is a minimum requirement to enable planning and scheduling of resources. Additionally, access to your historic works is vitally important for managing the subsequent lifecycle. Aurora for Street Works Promoters facilitates quick, efficient creation and progression of works in addition to ease of access to historic data.

Aurora is browser based with ESRI mapping at its core, facilitating the spatial representation of Promoter own works.

With mapping included for all users, standard symbology depicting the works’ traffic impact shows the location of your operations, in addition to their potential effect on the network at a glance.

Over and above spatially presenting all Promoter own works, Aurora includes a vast amount of functionality to assist Works Promoters in carrying out their obligations in an efficient way. As such, all Promoter own works are included in automated conflict checking when creating a permit, so as to notify the user if there are own works taking place on the same dates or in close proximity. This notification alongside any visual checks, enables Promoters to make an informed decision when planning their operations.

All Promoter works

The provision of Street Works Open Data following the introduction of Street Manager has enabled Symology to further enhance its Street Works solution offering. Aurora consumes Open Data from Street Manager to present all other Promoter works to all users as part of the base product. Open Data consumption was designed within Aurora from its inception, offering a seamless transition from viewing own works to those of other Promoters.

In order to provide distinction when viewing the map, works have differing symbology for ease of ownership identification, including displaying the works’ sector. Furthermore, non-own works are displayed as additional layers offering the capacity to turn them on and off, viewing only own works if required.

As the leading Street Works system supplier, Symology understands that there are many challenges that Works Promoters face and as such, provides a solution with effective Street Works planning and collaboration tools to minimise any administrative overhead. This is achieved through utilising the Open Data, alongside Promoter data, within the automatic conflict checks when raising works. Aurora identifies any potential conflicts with both Promoter own works and other Promoter works, offering the user the choice as to whether or not to proceed.

Section 58 and other Authority Activities

As well as Promoter operations, other activities impact the network and the planning of works, including Section 58 Restrictions and Highway licences. Section 58 Restriction data has been provided in different formats over the years, as part of the National Street Gazetteer and as EToN notices, which Symology has catered for in its solutions. With the introduction of Street Manager, Section 58s are provided in a consistent manner, included within the Open Data, and thus made available within Aurora.

Additionally, Highway Licences are managed by the Local Authorities, which includes, but is not limited to, skips, scaffolding, hoarding, events and other activities taking place on the network. The inclusion of Highway Licences within the Open Data from Street Manager facilitates their representation within Aurora for Promoters to utilise when planning works.

Standard, inbuilt enquiries provide search and report facilities on the Open Data, in addition to its inclusion within the mapping. Both Section 58 Restrictions and other Authority activities are displayed spatially much like other Promoter works. Moreover, they are also included as standard within the automatic conflict checking tool when users raise their own permits.

National Street Gazetteer and Associated Street Data

For many years, all Symology Street Works solutions have included provision for the National Street Gazetteer (NSG) and its Associated Street Data (ASD) as standard features. Demonstrated by its ESRI ArcGIS Adoption award, Aurora takes this to the next level with a map-driven user-interface giving users quick and easy access to data, which includes NSG and ASD information. Spatially represented NSG and ASD offer an efficient method of identifying specific requirements and the potential impact of works on the highway before a permit is raised. ASD includes, but is not limited to, traffic sensitivity and lane rental status to help inform a decision on the timing of works which may affect any associated costs.

As well as spatial display, ASD is visible against a street record and when creating a works, allowing the user to select which designations are valid and include any applicable conditions, submitting the most accurate permit application possible.

Additional Map Layers

Aurora’s out-of-the-box, best practice approach provides customers with a standard set of information required to perform their operational and legislative duties. Whilst this will cater for the majority of our customers’ requirements, Aurora offers flexibility to include additional available data sets where desired.

Increased work volumes facilitating infrastructure expansion alongside current maintenance of vital utility services places even more emphasis on the need for effective co-ordination and collaboration.

Co-ordination, collaboration and minimising disruption

As collaboration and minimising disruption on the network becomes even more of a priority to the Street Works community, Symology has ensured that its latest solution, Aurora, provides the tools to support this. Our vast experience in conjunction with more freely available Open Data enables us to offer a comprehensive Street Works solution with a holistic view of the road network.

Nationally, we are seeing an increase in the volume of works facilitating the expansion of our infrastructure to fulfil the Net Zero commitments with the introduction of Electric Vehicle charging points and 5G roll outs. These additional works, alongside the current maintenance of vital utility services, place even more emphasis on the need for effective co-ordination and collaboration to minimise disruption on the network and thus to members of the public.

True co-ordination comes from having access to all relevant data, from street details and traffic sensitive status, to major works and Section 58 Restrictions, in order to make informed decisions, which are all provided as standard within Aurora.

Collective Collaboration

Whilst traditionally the co-ordination element of Street Works has sat with the Local Authorities, the increase in work volumes and demands on road space brings about an even bigger need for both Works Promoters and Local Authorities to work collectively. Access to this data not only offers efficiency savings and thus cost savings through less toing and froing with Authorities to get a permit granted, but also identifies where Promoters could practically collaborate and trench share to reduce the number of works out on the network.

Co-ordination from the outset

Of course, it may not be practicable to collaborate on the ground, however efficiencies will be realised through co-ordination at the planning stage. Utilising the Open Data to identify timeframes in which the network is unoccupied, alongside gang availability, will assist in mitigating lost productivity through rescheduling as the result of a permit refusal owing to a conflict. Whilst the initial planning stage plays a fundamental part in the lifecycle of a works, visibility of all network occupancy throughout its duration can be invaluable when circumstances require works to be updated.

Aurora provides a highly effective tool for planning street works with the inclusion of open data works, activities and street information.

Aurora’s out-of-the-box display of all Open Data works, activities and street information delivers necessary tools for works planning. Visibility of this data in addition to the automatic conflict checking, provides a highly effective tool for planning street works, promoting co-ordination and collaboration from the outset, in order to reduce administrative and operational costs, at no additional charge.

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