Connecting Data for Better Outcomes - case study from Brighton and Hove City Council for GeoPlace Exemplar Awards 2017
Brighton and Hove City Council embarked on a lighting replacement scheme and wanted to integrate location data within their street works systems to support a change in working practices for street works engineers. Previously engineers stayed in the same inspection area for several years, but as they now work across the whole city a new way of providing them with a constant and consistent update of information was needed.
The council maintains a Street Lighting inventory with 25,000 structural units which include details for each street lighting asset maintained by the council such as; details of asset type, energy consumption code, location, height etc. The council has now supplied each unit within the inventory with a Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) to help collaboration between departments across the council.
The council faced several challenges at the start of the project, including:
• duplicates – the historic lighting dataset had many duplicate references. This occurred because individual numbers were stamped on to lighting structures as the lighting network grew. During the upgrade, each acquired a new unique identification which involved creating a consistent numbering approach across the whole department
• engineer role change – previously street engineers did not move between locations. They were accustomed to and well informed of their own locations. After the upgrade, their working areas were altered and route optimised. USRNs from the Local Street Gazetteer (LSG) helped with the implementation of mobile working. These along with the use of handheld devices to record inspections, allowed for the implementation of better maintenance schedules.
• software update – with 25,000 records within the street lighting inventory, it was essential that the new software integrated in to the council systems and could support such large numbers. Training was required, particularly for the engineers working in the field
• footpaths – before the task was started, the LSG did not contain the footpaths, but as many of these had street lighting on them, it added to the necessity to record footpaths in the LSG.
How is the data connected?
By using the LSG as the single source of streets data, collaboration between departments was made simpler.
All 25,000 units have been linked to a total of 2,765 USRNs. Having the link to the USRN has allowed easy referencing to pass this important information on to statutory undertakers wishing to undertake works. The intention is now to feed this information through to the National Street Gazetteer monthly as Associated Street Data. It was vital for the council to ensure all necessary departments, both internal and external, worked together, with the sharing of information.
What are the outcomes?
There are several positive outcomes from the change in the Street Lighting Inventory. These include:
• it is now easier for engineers to identify and locate a fault - resulting in a quicker reaction time to customers
• improved safety in areas reliant on street lighting
• work orders can automatically be created as permits requests. This results in huge time savings
• streets previously unrecorded have been verified and placed in the NSG
• significantly improved ASD
• with the street lighting linked to the USRN, the council is able to make use of the special designations to inform Statutory Undertakers of the lighting network
• increased awareness of ASD through the street works team.
By having every unit held against the USRN, Brighton and Hove City Council and its street lighting contractors have been able to make use of other associated street data in planning works and applying for permits. For example, everybody now has easy access to find out if a street is legally protected or is traffic sensitive.