As part of Road Safety week 2023, we have been publishing some content on SafetyView- showcasing how we offer a new approach to managing highways safety inspections for local authorities.
For this piece we will be speaking to Charlotte Heeles, Projects Manager at Gaist. Charlotte works across a wide range of our projects with clients and partners to ensure they run smoothly and deliver on time and everything promised. She is particularly involved with SafetyView- our highways safety inspection solution which we will be asking her about here...
Hi Charlotte, in a nutshell, how would you describe SafetyView to someone who had never heard of it?
SafetyView is a solution to provide assistance to Highway Inspectors to make well informed decisions for their safety inspections with visual, auditable information. It uses high definition imagery from a vehicle driving their network which is then processed for investigation by the highways safety inspector.
How are safety defects picked up using SafetyView?
SafetyView highlights Area of Interest (AOIs) for the Highway Inspectors to review and make decisions on based on their agreed intervention levels. SafetyView will collect more AOIs that a traditional safety inspection to enable to Highway Authority to confidently use the risk based approach across their network and help to move to a more preventive safety inspection regime rather than reactive.
What are some of the current challenges faced by highways safety inspectors?
Working extensively with local authorities, we have found there are a number of challenges faced by safety inspectors- some of which SafetyView is designed to tackle.
It is difficult to manually view the carriageway AND other assets at same time from a moving vehicle, some locations are fundamentally unsafe for stopping and assessing defects (e.g. roundabouts).
There are also demands on time from driven and walked surveys especially if poor weather limits inspection days per month and a need to balance scheduled inspections with additional more reactive tasks such as dealing with customer reports, complaints, etc.
It can be difficult for authorities to recruit younger people with on-the-ground highway experience when staff move on or retire- the expertise held by safety inspectors is in short supply!
How does SafetyView compare to the traditional method of conducting Safety Inspections?
Traditionally, highway inspections have been done using 2 people in a vehicle. They would drive the network to record safety defects on the network, if it possible or safe to do so they then may leave the vehicle to measure and take photos of the defect for their records and maintenance crews. Once the defect has been fixed the highway inspector may need to revisit the site to assess whether the work has been conducted in the time frame specified and to the quality expected. With SafetyView the driving of the network has been removed from the process.
Our highly trained inspectors drive the network at road speed to collect high quality imagery of both the carriageway and the whole roadscape with a 360 camera which is then analysed and AOIs recorded. The Highway Inspectors will then review the AOIs recorded at the desktop and decide what action is required, allowing them to make confident decisions from the evidence using their internal policies and the risk based approach. The imagery can be reviewed the next month on areas that were marked for repair for completion and quality assurance without the need for further site visits.
An additional benefit of SafetyView is having the imagery of the entire network each month, meaning that there is a record for areas that do not have damage which can be accessed in the event of a query of claim in these areas at the time of the imagery collection. This can also be shared with other departments such as street lighting or street works for a more collaborative approach to road safety.
How is the data presented to the highways safety inspector after it has been collected? How are ‘AOI’s’ presented to the user and what can they then do with them?
Gaist have developed a system specifically for SafetyView which allows the Highway Inspectors to review the AOIs in the most efficient way. We review the imagery that has been collected for the monthly inspection and provide the AOIs in a list format that can be easily reviewed with jump to icons for the imagery and map views. This data can then be manually exported as a CSV or GIS Format or can be automatically integrated with the Highway Authorities existing works ordering system.
Does SafetyView integrate with existing local authority technology related to safety inspections, such as works ordering systems (WOS)?
The SafetyView platform has been configured to fit with Highway Authorities existing works ordering systems. The reviewed AOIs can be transferred from SafetyView into the street record and to teams to action. For example, those AOIs that have been marked as Actionable can be transferred automatically to the maintenance teams or street works team dependant on the requirements of the Highway Authority.
Does the methodology align with the risk-based approach adopted by UK local authorities?
Yes. SafetyView allows the Highway Inspectors to make informed decisions based on high quality imagery. They are able to access detailed images of the carriageway to assess an area that has been highlighted and use the 360 imagery to assess the environment and the map to assess the location based on road classification and hierarchy for example. Once the highway authority has access to multiple months of inspections, they are able to start to track damages from month to month, which in the long run can be used to influence decisions in earlier interventions to reduce repairs and site visits.
If you would like to read more on SafetyView you can here:
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