Surrey County Council

Delivering best practise in roadworks commuications

Effective communication of current and future road disruptions to the public is a key priority for Surrey County Council

The challenge

Surrey County Council is responsible for maintaining approximately 4,800 km (3,000 miles) of roads. This includes minor repairs along with a planned Highway Maintenance programme where it carries out preventative maintenance treatments.

It is also currently undertaking a £100m 5 year investment programme of major Highway Maintenance, project Operation Horizon, being delivered from 2013 to 2018 – all this means there can be hundreds of street works happening across a wide geographical area in Surrey at any one time.

As a large, highly populated and commercially critical region, it has become increasingly important for Surrey County Council to make sure residents and businesses have access to comprehensive and up to date information on roadworks that are happening across the county.

Tina Thornburn, Works Communication Team Leader, says

“Elgin’s platform and Traffic Management App are a long established and successful part of Surrey Council’s Highways Team planning and co-ordination work. Considering resident feedback on the need for us to improve works information available to the public, it was a natural step build on this and in October 2015 we started using the Elgin Communications App.”

“Critically, sharing clearer, more detailed, timely and accurate information with the public, enables better travel choices, leads to reduce congestion, improves customer satisfaction and reduces customer service calls. By using the Comms App, we believe we are being pro-active in our responsive to residents and stakeholders’ needs and it demonstrates we are an innovative authority, leading best practise.”

Matthew Jezzard, Traffic Manager, Traffic & Streetworks Team

Surrey County Council

The solution

The Communications App (Comms App) is a secure web-based, simple content management system, which fully integrates with Streetworks systems. It enables customisation of roadworks information and multi-media content, with real-time updating and syndication through a wide variety of channels, including, local and national websites and social media.

Tina added, “Previously, our roadworks map and information was very basic - generally duplicated from the official EToN works notice that often features industry jargon - and was not updated when there were any changes. The Comms App now enables us to make live updates in simple to understand language.”

Surrey County Council feature bespoke messaging on their planned and emergency works callouts on, featuring sections on Information for Road Users, Information for Residents, which includes links to other media such as leaflets, letter drops, notices, etc. as well as to relevant areas of their own website. The number of user enquiries against particular works can be monitored through the web analytics tool and a sentiment monitoring tool allows overall feedback on works.

Tina said, "The ability to enhance the callout with other documentation means it is also consistent with our wider communications activity, especially for major works where more detail is often required. Callouts also include methods for people to get in touch with us quickly if needed, via an in-callout email and a link to our website contacts page."

Surrey County Council has embedded the map into its own website, on the 'Roadworks in my area' page. Here, visitors can also register to receive email alerts with updates on specific roadworks they are interested in.

Angela Kitching, Highways Lead Supervisor of the Contact Centre, commented,

“Previously, there was a bottleneck of calls, especially on major and particularly disruptive works. Having this has improved our internal efficiencies, as it not only helps residents self-serve and find information easily on, but means that our team here also has this instantly available to answer telephone and email roadwork enquiries.”

With people increasingly engaging with companies digitally, can help reduce the number of customer service telephone enquiries. With the average cost of an enquiry estimated at £2.83 a call (source: SOCITM), whereas web self serve is £0.15, it's clear that 'self-served' enquiries are quicker and more convenient for the public and more cost effective for Local Highway Authority.

On developing future use of the Comms App, Tina added, "Currently we use Comms App for planned and emergency works, but considering the benefits it has delivered so far, we intend to extend its use to all types of works, such as drain cleaning, grass cutting, etc. and to further enhance information with video content, scrolling news alerts, wider syndication, etc." 

Comms App enables Surrey CC to enhance information about roadworks

Key benefits

accurate and timely roadworks information

via multiple channels

cost and resource savings

with less telephone enquiries

time savings

with information instantly available to answer enquiries