Route Management Strategies
K Harrison, WS Atkins Consultants, UK
Atkins holds a framework contract with the Highways Agency to undertake Route Management Strategies in the Midlands & South West Region. This framework contract has already involved the development of 2 Route Management Strategies (RMS), the M1 to Birmingham RMS in the Midlands and the M5 south of J21 to J31 in the South West. This paper will draw heavily on the experiences gained from these contracts.
The paper will outline the Route Management Study process, the aim of which is to provide an open and optimum way of planning future investment in the maintenance, operation and improvement of the network over the next 10 years, which integrates local and regional land and transport interests in the decision-making process. To achieve this, the study has to understand how the route currently performs and how it would then need to be managed and improved to meet the demand of the future.
This paper will concentrate on the main features of the study and describes how the accepted process was amended to improve Stakeholder understanding. The main features include:
* Study of existing and likely future route conditions;
* Use of a Geographical Information System (GIS) to manage and analyse large amounts of data;
* Establishment of performance indicators to evaluate route requirements;
* Consultation process; and
* Developing and publishing a 10-year strategy for the delivery of improvements to the networkDATA REVIEWThe initial stage of a route management strategy is an assembly of all relevant data relating to existing conditions on the core routes (route characteristics like road width and condition, traffic & accident information, non-motorised user facilities, etc). This is vital in determining how the networks are currently performing and can be expected to perform in the future. The collation of detailed transport information was made easier by storing the information in a Geographical Information System (GIS) and working in close partnership with the HA Area Managing Agents.
h4. GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION SYSTEM (GIS)
WS Atkins developed a Geographical Information System (created using MapInfo) as part of the studyprocess initially to be used as a high specification tool to manage and display large amounts of data, including storage of photos and video footage. Later on in the study is seemed a natural step to use the GIS to analyse network performance indicators since all of the key datasets are stored in the GIS. The data is mapped so we also had the ability to output a number of map based plans to be used for presentation purposes at all stages of consultation. It is seen as an interactive tool, easy to transport andaccess by users of all experience. It has been used successfully on other projects as a consultation tool,particularly during public consultation events and roadshows. This paper will look at how the development and use of a Geographical Information System informed the RMS process.
h4. ROUTE PERFORMANCE FRAMEWORKS
Various core and route specific indicators were developed and examined under each of the Governments key objectives of economy, safety, environment, accessibility and integration, and the results converted into a framework table for each defined route section. The GIS provided the ability tocross-referencing between different performance indicators or key data, helping to identify the factors contributing to problems along the network. For example, the ability to show accident rates in conjunction with traffic flows and road user type.
In light of past problems resulting from poor communication between transport planners, interest groups, the public and other stakeholders, the development of policy is now steering towards a more open and transparent process. Consultation plays a significant part in a Route Management Strategy, from an initial Seminar through to select Value Management Workshops and a Public Exhibition. The Seminar and Workshops involved key stakeholders and are used to challenge, consolidate and confirm
Objectives for different parts of the network, to build support from those stakeholders and to inform the development of strategic plans.
There is also clearly a need today to engage the public in the ongoing debate about transport problems and solutions since it becomes ever clearer that change in travel behaviour and lifestyle is likely to be an inevitable requirement over the next few years. DEVELOPING A 10-YEAR STRATEGYFollowing the identification of the issues through route performance frameworks and consultation, the next stage sees the generation of a transport investment programme, or 10-year strategy that addresses all of the key issues and problems on the route sections.
The output from this particular RMS has been to define a set of actions that are widely accepted as being the highest priority, and to ensure that the actions have been identified in sufficient detail to be implemented over the next 10 years.
Association for European Transport