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Q & A from the HAUC (UK) Convention now available

The Infrastructure Race

Q - Is there a race for infrastructure?

A - Following the pandemic the Government introduced a policy "build back better" which initiates a need to build more infrastructure. Going off the amount of granted permits in Greater Manchester there has been an increase over the last few years which supports the idea there are more works affecting the highway.

Q - What's the split between authority own work and utility works that affects the Manchester network on the affect of flow on the authority and are all authority works permitted?

A - Although our data analytics team in GM have a report showing delays over normal journey times the roadworks element has not been split down to works promoter. All works on the highway have the potential to cause delays therefore going off granted permits there is a split of 71% utility and 29% highway and transportation works. I am hopeful that all authorities works are permitted, however I have no access to their works systems so have no way of knowing whether they are, this is will need to be answered by individual authorities.

Q - On the theme of Communication is there the fundamental need for Central Government Departments to have their agendas and initiatives aligned better? Perfect example where MP Enquiries regarding street works are actually as a result of the fibre broadband rollout and the open market where multiple providers could reopen the highway to install their apparatus.

A - In a perfect world it would be good to have all Governments agendas and initiatives aligned, however most policies will have a knock on effect to others. I can see the difficulty with aligning them and taking the push for greater and faster telecom connectivity as an example, this could have the potential to seriously affect the highway network when works are undertaken. There probably is no way of aligning this to get the maximum benefit of installing better communications while keeping the expeditious movement of traffic to a maximum. However, I do think Government departments should take note that their particular policies will affect others department policies and where this is identified, they should accept this and work together to find a common ground. I also believe HAUC and the LGA have a part to play in letting the Government know when there are problems and also assist in finding solutions.

Q - Do feel that permits should contain more data relating to traffic management proposals to enable software suppliers to extrapolate the data to provide a more accurate representation of works disruption? For example, PLS phasing, extent, timing and number of lanes closed, etc...

A - Yes, it will be helpful to have either more fields to select or a free text field. However, there will be concerns raised from works promoters with free text in case errors are made particular with GDPR. There should also be an acceptance that works are often dynamic and TM can change very quickly and at short notice, however these changes should be updated in the permit as soon as practically possible.

Q -c.123,000 Permits works out at c.475 works per day - what are the splits on the number on the Key Network routes vs. Type 4 roads/footways?

A - In Greater Manchester there is a defined Key Route Network and the split is 111,769 permits non-KRN and 10,804 on the KRN. The KRN is not defined by the reinstatement category of the road so I believe a better split would be Type 0,1,2 (24,471 permits) and Type 3,4 and others (98102 permits)

Q - Will the introduction of the new national conditions regarding the update of current traffic management type in street manager help with understanding when and what is happening with road closures?

A - I think this may help to know when the road closure has been implemented and when the road is reopened to traffic where there is different types of traffic management.

Q - How are we going to cope with the coordination of increasing amounts of infrastructure installation, with the current immediate urgent legislation in place?

A - I feel the criteria of "urgent" works under the legislation can be far reaching particular with the definition of "unplanned interruption of any service or supply". This allows works promoters to open the highway without any notification, however there is no statutory timescale for the asset owner to have known about the interruption. The interruption could have been known by the asset owner for many days and even weeks before works commenced. Setting a timescale in regulation will be difficult, however works promoters must be honest with using this definition and where there is time to notify the authority other works types should be used and authorities should be open to 'early starts' to assist with putting an end to the problem.

Q - For a Connected kerb representative - would you feel that having code powers to deliver a solution is needed to satisfy authority concerns over liability..

A - To fully answer this question, it’s important to qualify what concerns Local Authorities have over liability exactly? Liability to operate and maintain the infrastructure network of EV charge points is covered extensively in Connected Kerb’s contractual terms with a local authority or client. Issues over liability can be fully avoided by determining service level agreements, operation and maintenance terms during contract negotiations. Connected Kerb offer industry leading service terms and liability reassurances to ensure our network delivers reliability, affordability, and accessibility. We can support the risk of liability perceived by LA’s by offering terms that minimise or completely dissolve any risk to a LA, provided the right length of term is provided.

Q - Is the connected kerb system able to be utilised by site works crews to assist with moving to greener equipment to be charged onsite?

A - This is a fantastic idea and one that the R&D/ Innovations teams at Connected Kerb would be keen to support. Our infrastructure is diverse and able to support a wide range of solutions for charging. We would be keen to develop these discussions to develop a clear idea of how we could support the use of ‘greener equipment’ for site crews and already have several projects with Local Authorities that are delivering significant reductions in energy and carbon use for their operations.

Q - For a Connected kerb representative - Are there different options for colour with greater contrast to the highway surface?

A - Our infrastructure has been designed to enable discrete incorporation into the landscape, as often we are installing in heritage environments or on street locations where contrast is avoided. However we can create bespoke solutions when required and so would be able to discuss options or alternative solutions to support a more conspicuous instalment of infrastructure, should this be requested.

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