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ITSReviewAnnual2015

Freddie Talberg PIE Mapping www.its-ukreview.org 55 a bespoke routing service for their region. In the case of Kent County Council, a ‘Lorry Watch’ module has also been included in the system which gives residents the facility to feedback instances where HGVs are using inappropriate roads. All additional data which has been included in Kent’s local system also populates PIE’s national websites to ensure a broader reach for truck drivers and operators. Because of its strategic location as ‘the gateway to Europe’, Kent has some very specific - and sometimes unique - freight transport issues. Tim Middleton, Freight Office for Kent County Council, says: “I see Freight Gateway as a liaison between residents and parishes in Kent, the police and Kent County Council. We do want freight movement, even if sometimes it goes through villages. “People still expect deliveries, and businesses need freight in order to thrive. We also have a lot of farming in the county which needs lorries and all types of transport. However, often I get complaints from parishes saying that lorries are coming down their village roads. That is one of the big parts of the job, trying to balance the needs of the public and businesses. “The Freight Gateway service was a logical progression for Lorry Watch, a county-wide campaign that empowers residents by allowing them to monitor and feedback to the council when lorries use weight and width restricted roads. “Prior to Freight Gateway, monitoring feedback was quite labour intensive. Now we receive information via the online platform and where we identify issues we liaise with the police and can even exclude those roads from the routing engine so any drivers planning routes using our system will be diverted away from problem areas.” Tim finds it frustrating that HGV drivers more often than not use car satnav devices rather than those specifically developed for the haulage industry which include detailed information about unsuitable lorry routes. He has suggested to satnav companies in the past that they change their routings but inevitably receives the response that they won’t remove a road which is appropriate for the majority of drivers. This is precisely why PIE’s Freight Gateway – with all its information and routings specifically developed for HGVs – has proved to be an indispensible tool for many local authorities which need to control freight transport on their roads, and to haulage businesses which need up to date routing information for a more streamlined operation. Vital to the success of the project was ensuring Senior Officers and Members could get to grips with the data and make sense of the information that a digital platform like the Freight Gateway generates. To make that as simple and dynamic as possible, the Freight Gateway reporting suite includes online dashboards that show the number of visits to the authority’s website and how many routes have been generated across all journey planning sites by hauliers. It also includes the volume of temporary and planned closures and the number of miles of roads affected by planned closures and disruptions. But, because the Kent Freight Gateway is part of a national freight routing system, the data available is not just limited to Kent. Any route that is planned on any part of the Freight Gateway network across the UK is captured and that has shown generated some very valuable information. Says Tim Middleton “Perhaps the most interesting figure is the number of routes generated that either start or end in Kent. Our own system captures a good portion of this information, but hauliers using a system from a number of other authorities or one of the national platforms is considerably higher. “The net result of which is that we have been able to influence the journey planning of more than 12,000 HGV routes. That’s quite an achievement and as usage on the Freight Gateway platforms increases across the UK, so does our ability to influence freight movements, right here from the office. “It’s a compelling argument for the product and being able to visualise it so easily can really help when working with local stakeholders.” The next stage in the development of PIE Mapping’s Freight Gateway system is to provide an app for truck drivers and haulage businesses which can be used on the move for instant routing information in specific local authority areas. “As soon as the app is up and running I just think the sky’s the limit,” adds Tim Middleton. “I’m looking forward to it and it’s good to be involved in its development. The more successful the Freight Gateway gets, the more successful we will be.” Local authorities which need a definitive source of freight mapping data to influence which roads are used by HGVs in their area can now offer a bespoke Freight Gateway system on their website. ◆ For more information go to: www.piemapping.com


ITSReviewAnnual2015
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