Automation driving safety and efficiency in essential streetworks for NGN
Automation driving safety and efficiency in essential streetworks for Northern Gas Networks
1Spatial, the global geospatial software and solutions company and Northern Gas Networks (NGN) have been working together to create a prototype system to automate the creation of compliant traffic management plans at the click of a button.
Whether responding to emergencies or maintaining underground pipes, excavating roads to access underground assets is often unavoidable, inconvenient and can lead to fines if work unexpectedly overruns.
In the UK, there are approximately four million street excavations every year. Each one must be meticulously planned, and many require an approved, standards-compliant traffic management plan. These plans are currently guided by the Chapter 8 Health and Safety Regulation. Its interpretation however is subjective both in terms of design and construction and this can lead to delays in approval and heavy fines if constructed incorrectly.
As the gas distributor for the North, NGN’s top priority after safety is to minimise disruption for customers in their homes and highways. NGN wanted to make the current process for completing traffic management plans more efficient, consistent and cost-effective, while capable of identifying potential customer and stakeholder impacts. After releasing a Call for Innovation, 1Spatial were selected due to their expertise in automating data-driven business processes through advanced rule engine technology.
1Spatial worked with NGN and the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) to build a prototype system combining OS data and 1Spatial’s automation technology. The system reduced the time taken to create a compliant traffic management plan down from days to minutes.
Richard Hynes-Cooper, Head of Innovation, Northern Gas Networks said:
“The ability for our own designers, planners and engineers to generate traffic management plans, at the click of a button, is a potential game-changer for the industry. Working together, Northern Gas Networks combined their technical expertise with 1Spatial’s automation technology to produce this award-winning and innovative system.”
Jess Hampton, Head of Utilities, 1Spatial commented:
“We always enjoy partnering with NGN and were delighted to work together with their experts on this innovative project. The benefits of automating this process are wide ranging, but in particular will make the process of creating traffic management plans safer and more consistent.”
1Spatial is currently refining the prototype system so that it can be adopted by other utilities, local authorities or any company engaged in streetwork excavation. Find out more.