CSC Smart Cities Platform: An Innovate UK Project With AMEY PLC
As the population of cities and places continues to grow, so do the demands placed on local infrastructure.
In a time of austerity, local authorities and their service providers are facing the growing challenges of maintaining the quality and lifespan of the highway, as well as accommodating the increasing volume of telecoms and utility company works required to
satisfy the public need for essential services such as electricity, gas water and communications.
During 2015, some 2.3 million road works were completed throughout the UK, with utilities accounting for 67% of these works.
Members of the public everywhere have been unable to understand why, after the local council resurfaces a road, another service provider would dig up the new tarmac to upgrade its own infrastructure. The lack of joined-up planning also has a direct impact on the total cost of ownership of the highways asset, increasing the cost of delivery of core services to the public, as well as being detrimental to the environment and the economy.
Amey, together with their strategic partners Staffordshire County Council and CSC, have moved one step closer to solving these challenges with an Innovate UK funded project to develop a new collaborative planning hub for Staffordshire County Council. The project introduces a smart city platform and new collaborative working practices to enable the coordination of infrastructure projects and reduce disruption, mitigate adverse environmental impacts and improve the sustainability and quality of works.
This 18-month project involves seven partners in total, working together to solve this issue; Amey, Staffordshire County Council, CSC, Staffordshire University, Elgin, Future Cities Catapult and Tenshi Partners. Together, they have implemented a new prototype spatial planning system, designed a new collaborative joint works planning process and are currently trialing a new spatial asset investment and operational planning service, with support from several utility companies.
This service innovation is only possible through a truly unique collaboration and the CSC smart city data platform, with automated search and analytics capabilities. The innovative methods being developed should enable the delivery of that “Heineken Moment” for all streetworks, preventing disruption for the members of public. Some joint works are carried out today, but they are very much the exception. They follow a lengthy manual process, involving spreadsheet data and fragmented manual planning processes. The time required to schedule joint works means that as few as 3 schemes are planned each year in Staffordshire. This project aims to fix this and dramatically increase the number of joint works schemes.
The work being piloted in Staffordshire is running from April 2016 to March 2017, by which time the project should have delivered several joint occupation works schemes, measured their impact and disseminated the resulting research.
With the platform now in place, the Future Cities Catapult will lead research that explores how the social, environmental, economic and infrastructure data it contains can be used to better inform Council planning and decision-making. This will deliver an economics white paper and specific research to inform how to make this collaborative environment the norm, rather than the exception.
Joint Workers Solution
The CSC Smart City Platform is based on CSC’s OmniLocation technology which allows quick and easy analysis of a diverse set of data sources, including future plans and maintenance information, and presents the results geo-spatially on a map to allow the planners to see the context in which streetworks will be carried out.
This platform provides the geo-spatial data visualisation and analytics applications needed to power this new planning service. It has been configured to automate and simplify key aspects of this complex planning process, whilst enabling that process to be executed collaboratively, involving all parties from any location. The CSC planning system automatically highlights potential joint works locations and allows planners to quickly assess their feasibility and create potential joint works schemes.
Potential schemes are developed in collaboration with the utility companies to confirm their scope and design. From thereon, the system automatically assists planners to seek-out opportunities to include more and more works – the virtual equivalent of the Heineken advert – and as schemes evolve, it enables planners to manage them through the various stages of their lifecycle. The system has the capability to scale the number of joint works schemes delivered beyond what can be achieved manually.
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