The pioneering Pothole-spotter trial has secured a prestigious industry award which recognises its ‘great potential’ in dealing with these highly visible road defects. The project, led by the Department for Transport (DfT), in partnership with Thurrock, York and Wiltshire councils and delivered by private-sector SMEs, Gaist and SOENECS, was named winner of the ‘Best Use of New Technology’ category at the Highways Awards 2017.
The judges said the project provided “high quality and frequently refreshed information on potholes across networks providing great potential for development.”
Dr David Greenfield, managing director of SOENECS and Research lead for Pothole-spotter, said: “We are thrilled that the innovation and hard work that has gone into this project has been recognised with such a prestigious award. “It is a great achievement for a project that is still in the trial stage.”
The Pothole-spotter project and its learning will revolutionise the way councils undertake highways maintenance and how potholes and other road defects are identified and managed, reducing their number and paving the way for a high-performing local highway network fit for all road users.
On behalf of the councils involved, Parvis Khansari, Director of Highways and Transport for Wiltshire Council, said: “It is great to be part of a project that I am convinced will deliver a step change in the way we manage highways maintenance.”
Launched in January, the system uses high-definition cameras, mounted to refuse collection vehicles (RCVs), buses and bikes to capture regular, detailed images of the same sections of the highways network.
This rich data is analysed using intelligent software and the findings will be used to deepen councils’ understanding of how roads deteriorate. It will enable them to develop a long-term strategy for more effectively predicting and preventing potholes and other highways defects.
Dr Stephen Remde, Director of Innovation and Research at Gaist Solutions, said: “Not only will this imagery provide the councils involved with a near real-time understanding of how their networks are deteriorating, but it will provide data that could help to answer some important questions about highways maintenance.”
The key aims of the project are:
The Department for Transport will consider how the use of the technology can provide authorities and other organisations with more real-time information to help identify a wider array of important features and possible issues, including cracks and other defects, signage, vegetation, debris and other characteristics.
This will help inform planned long-term investments in road and other local highway infrastructure.
The DfT will also examine how the use of this new technology - and making better use of data - can help create smarter environments to assist mobility, increase local economic opportunity and address local challenges.
For more information about the Pothole-spotter project, see www.pothole-spotter.co.uk or email: John.Twitchen@pcsg.co.uk or Elizabeth.Owen@pcsg.co.uk
Follow us on Twitter: @potholesspotter