The Department for Transport has announced that long traffic jams caused by roadworks could be a thing of the past as a scheme which has already significantly reduced delays in Kent and London is rolled out nationwide.
Lane rental schemes, where utility companies are charged up to £2,500 a day for digging up the busiest roads at peak times, could now be adopted by councils nationwide after successful trials in the south-east.
They incentivise firms to work on quieter roads or outside of rush hour, or even to collaborate with other companies to stop roads being dug up multiple times, to reduce the impact of roadworks on drivers.
Pilot lane rental schemes in London and Kent have seen congestion on the busiest roads drop, saving drivers time and boosting the economy.
Data from highways authorities collated into the National Street Gazetteer (NSG) underpins lane rentals schemes. The NSG contains definitive information for streets in England and Wales. Primarily it allows local authorities to manage all streetworks carried out by themselves and by utilities in an efficient manner on the national road network. It also holds all the information that a utility needs to know about in respect to the roads which are earmarked for works.
Richard Mason, Managing Director of GeoPlace which manages the NSG said: "We welcome the announcement from the Department of Transport that lane rental schemes could be more widely rolled out. GeoPlace works with highway authorities to ensure the quality and accuracy of their data and together with JAG(UK) provides guidance on the steps that must be undertaken if an authority is preparing to become a permit authority."
Jerry McConkey, joint chair of HAUC(UK) which brings highways authorities, utility companies and government together and CEO of JAG UK, representing authorities said: "JAG(UK) looks forward to working with the Department for Transport to see if we can change behaviours in key areas of the country. Permit schemes are a step forward for behaviour and lane rental can be a further step forward for the economy."
Relationship between GeoPlace and JAG(UK)
In March 2013, JAG(UK)signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GeoPlace for GeoPlace to provide services to JAG(UK)members. The aim of the partnership is to support local authorities in their day-to-day operation of works as well as delivering logical joined-up solutions to central government and other parties.
The relationship has enabled delivery of many initiatives that directly affect the way that street works can be carried out by local authorities and utilities, and has promoted better relationships with other parties in the broader street works industry.
Guidance for the National Street Gazetteer: Permit scheme preparation
Joint guidance from JAG (UK) and GeoPlace for Authority Street Custodians to understand the requirements in preparing their authorities' Local Street Gazetteers for implementation of a permit scheme is available here.