Wales & West Utilities

Reducing disruption in Wales and the South West

Gas emergency and pipeline service company Wales & West Utilities is responsible for a network of more than 35,000km of pipes. With over 21,000 roadworks in the last 12 months, it was looking for a system to coordinate its activities whilst keeping the people it serves and regulators happy.

The Challenge

Wales & West Utilities transports gas to the homes and businesses of 7.5 million people throughout Wales and the South West of England. This includes maintaining and replacing the gas pipe network, connecting new properties and responding to customer gas emergencies.

With over 21,000 roadworks in the last 12 months, Wales & West Utilities was looking for a system to coordinate its activities whilst keeping the people it serves and regulators happy.

Challenges included

  • Making sure operational teams have clear visibility of projects and planning notices
  • Co-ordinating all activity happening on the highway
  • Simplifying the process of creating temporary traffic management plans for highway authority approval
  • Keeping local communities fully briefed on work and improving customer service

Graham Bond, Street Works Manager at Wales & West Utilities begins,

"We started using roadworks.org as a way for our operational teams to see a graphical view of where our works are, which our previous mapping system did not allow."

roadworks.org goes beyond what is happening on the Wales & West Utilities' network as it also enables visibility of all other activity on the highway, including work being carried out by other companies such as water and electricity providers, along with the Local Highway Authorities.

Graham added, "This background coordination is key to us as our planners can use roadworks.org to see if there is anything else happening in the street which might stop us doing work or if another organisation has already got a notice there. It's all about careful planning and coordination of works and minimising disruption to the general public and wider stakeholders."

“roadworks.org is a phenomenal piece of technology which is being continually enhanced by Elgin to include the very latest functionality. It has opened the door for us to working more smartly when planning our works and engaging with the communities we serve more easily.”

Graham Bond, Streetworks Manager

Wales & West Utilities

The Solution

When planning their work, Wales & West Utilities is using Elgin's Traffic Management (TM) App and Signage Add-on to produce a traffic management plan where required.

Improving streetworks workflow process

The Signage Add-on is a web-based tool enabling Wales & West Utilities to create basic traffic control diagrams using an easy-to-use Google Map. It builds on Elgin's TM App which enables road closures, diversion routes and other temporary traffic management disruptions to be plotted with a few easy clicks of the mouse.

"We used to do this on paper - sketching out where the traffic light heads and signs would be on each job", explained Graham. "But we can now use this tool to put together a plan via the Add-on, which is much more cost effective and professional".

This significantly helps reduce external costs, inefficient paper based processes and the errors and fixed penalties that often arise from multiple hand-offs.

Keeping the community fully briefed on works

For this, Wales & West Utilities has roadworks.org embedded on its website, giving customers a real view of all the works happening - the first utility company to do so.

Once accepted, plans are immediately published on roadworks.org and widely syndicated to other websites, sat-navs and via social media. This allows Wales & West Utilities to keep local communities and businesses fully informed by communicating all aspects of streetworks before they take place and while in progress.

With people increasingly engaging with companies digitally, roadworks.org can help reduce the number of customer service telephone enquiries. With the average cost of an enquiry estimated at £2.83 a call (source: SOCITIM), it's clear that 'self-served' enquiries are quicker and more convenient for the public and more cost effective for the utility company. Between August 2014 and July 2015, Wales & West Utilities had over 159,000 works enquiries on roadworks.org.

example of a Wales & West Utilities signage plan

Key benefits

improved efficiency

in streetworks planning processes

reduced cost

to produce signage plans

better comminucation

keeping the community fully informed