Precise, high-quality data about the road and roadscape is increasingly recognised as a critical ‘tool’ for asset owners/maintainers to optimise network performance, improve safety and unlock efficiencies, our CEO, Steve Birdsall said.

“Vague data leads to vague decisions,” Steve told a webinar hosted by the Local Council Roads Innovation Group. “And at a time when councils in general have less and less money available to spend, they need the trusted, high-quality data that enables them to put that money in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.”

The webinar, Utilising Technology to Deliver Change, brought together leading players from the road and roadscape data market– Gaist and Ordnance Survey (OS) – along with the Department for Transport.

Gaist and OS have been working together to meet the growing demand for roads data.

As collection costs have reduced and the quality of captured data has increased, local authorities and utilities are increasingly keen to utilise this data to unlock insights and intelligence about the network and to support the creation of digital twins which help to optimise performance, increase reliability and improve safety.

Demand for detailed intelligence about the roadscape – details from the quality of white line markings to the exact position, configuration and condition of telegraph poles and street lights – has also been prompted by developments including the roll-out of 5G and the proposed re-working of road layouts and extension of nationwide cycle schemes in response to Covid-19.

Steve said it was encouraging to see both the innovations being promoted by the DfT and the willingness of many local authorities to embrace new systems and new ways of working.

Organisations, less comfortable with new technologies – such as AI – which are being utilisied in data analysis –  should focus on the problems they want to solve, Steve urged, not the technology itself

“Don’t be blinded by the science. Approach it from this angle: What challenge are you struggling with? What are you trying to achieve? Work back from there and look at what kind of data you need and then look to see who can best help you with that.”

Simon Navin, Head of Roadside Asset Data Services at OS, said: “We are seeing a new type of demand for more value through greater granularity…… of data, higher frequency of update, better understanding of road condition and more detail about the objects, the assets that exist in and around the roadside.”

Matt Coleman, Head of Data Policy, Analytics and Data Vision at the Department for Transport (DfT) said: “Our priority is to encourage the unlocking and sharing of valuable data that will provide data that will support operational insights at a local, national and regional level.”

Watch the webinar, which took place in February, here.

For further info on how Gaist’s capture and provision of rich data about the road and roadside infrastructure supports local authorities, utilities and other organisations to optimise their asset performance, introduce efficiencies and better target their spending, please contact Jake.Lawson@gaist.co.uk.