Local Authorities

Welsh Government Enlists Gaist to Help Implement National 20mph Speed Limit

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Wales 20mph Project Outline

How we use our roads and the requirements for maintaining them is rapidly changing, with a focus on initiatives as diverse as improved road safety, increase active travel, and emissions reduction all priorities. One such example is the redesignation of existing 30 mph roads to a lower 20mph speed limit, to improve safety and promote a better experience for ALL road users.

With a number of studies promoting the safety benefits of the reduction of the speed limit of designated roads from 30mph to 20mph, numerous local and national authorities across the UK are looking to implement large scale restructuring of road asset infrastructure.

With projects ongoing in geographical areas of the UK as diverse as 5 London Boroughs, Oxfordshire
and the Scottish Highlands, the era of widespread local road network transformation towards 20mph speed limits is upon us.

In Wales, the Senedd passed The Restricted Roads (20 mph Speed Limit) (Wales) Order 2022 legislation in support of Llwybr Newydd: the Wales Transport Strategy, prioritising active travel and lowering the environmental impacts of travel nationwide.

This means the Wales is the first nation in the UK and one of the first countries in the world, to introduce legislation to have a widespread 20mph speed limit on roads where cars mix with pedestrians and cyclists.

The Challenge

As the nature of the 20mph project is large scale and transformative, covering 13,106 km of roads across Wales, the challenge to provide safer roads for communities whilst incurring minimal disruption to constituents relies on knowing the exact number of assets that need to be changed and where budgets and resources need to be focused to facilitate new 20mph road infrastructure.

Accordingly, one of the biggest obstacles to effective project implementation for Welsh Government was verifying their understanding of the existing road network asset infrastructure and its condition within a set budget.

After all, how do you effectively transform large swathes of your road network without cost effective, easy-to-use data that fits seamlessly within your existing processes?

Enter Gaist

The opportunities provided by image capture and extraction technology to capture and manage data, improving the capability to use information to better monitor and manage the performance of road lining and safety-critical assets provides a massive advantage to those responsible for implementing projects such as this.

The cost-effective collection methods offered by Gaist enabled the Welsh Government to trust that they could grasp the full scale of the project across 23 separate Local Authorities and allocate resource effectively to ensure project success.

After a lengthy period of research, the Welsh Government came across Gaist, a company with a proven track record working with local and national government who could reliably provide all the asset condition and location data they required to enable the 20mph project. Added to this, there weren’t many options that could deploy their resources at scale and deliver on the ambitious schedule that Welsh Government had set out.

Following project commencement Gaist rapidly began working closely with 19 Welsh authorities, conducting a nationwide survey of key restricted roads for the 20mph project and delivering the data within the agreed timeframe of 6 months. The survey covered all signage and road markings related to 30 mph speed restrictions and the data outputs were subsequently imported to the relevant local authority GIS data platforms or offered on Gaist’s in-house data visualisation tool AssetStream at no extra charge. All of the data points were underpinned by HD 360-degree panoramic imagery, enabling full transparency and allowing those responsible for project implementation to see the full context of each asset.

At this point the local authorities had all the required information on their proposed 20mph areas, enabling them to commence upgrade works within their own subsequent timescales without any risk of missing key infrastructure and assets critical to the success of the 20mph speed limit transformation. Additionally, as a result of them seeing how easy-to-use and high quality the data on offer from Gaist was, the majority of the Welsh local authorities took additional asset and condition data from Gaist to gain a more complete view of their highway network and inform maintenance activity.

Project Completion

So what is next for the project?

The data enabled Welsh Government to begin implementation of the 20mph speed limit, due for completion in Autumn 2023, you can read more about the project here.

Gaist were incredibly proud to provide the data to facilitate this, making the project possible by enabling incredibly accurate and reliable outputs- ensuring the Welsh Government could maximise the efficiency of their activity on a large scale.

Do our industry-leading highways surveys sound like something that could benefit your road transformation activity? Contact ian.job@gaist.co.uk

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