Northumberland County Council operates a wide variety of public services, including highway and road maintenance, in North East England. With 12 highway inspectors on staff, the organization maintains 5,200km of roads spread across 4 regions. The council focuses on providing high-quality services through strong community relationships.
With such a wide area to cover, inspectors often travel long distances to complete their tasks. Long distances led to long periods of downtime — up to 45 minutes one way — and lost productivity. This lost productivity prompted Northumberland to find new ways of using driving time to increase staff and department efficiency.
The council launched a pilot test of Vaisala RoadAI, which began with four inspectors using the RoadAI handsets to conduct safety inspections and gather road condition data. The solution’s easy integration features allowed them to quickly begin testing by connecting the mobile app to their existing database system.
The solution generated data and annotations about road sign conditions automatically as inspectors simply drove from one location to another. At the end of their shifts, inspectors uploaded the data to their system.
Vaisala provided: RoadAI
"We immediately saw a lot of potential in RoadAI and have expanded RoadAI usage to all of our inspectors. The system has helped us tremendously with efficiency, accuracy and maintaining a record of our road conditions." - Kris Westerby, Highways Delivery Manager
The mobile data collection system also generates a video of the road network which can be used for multiple purposes. This feature saved inspectors from driving to some sites where road damage had been reported; they could just view the high-resolution video.
Northumberland’s inspectors cover a lot of ground — from remote country highways to coastal routes and everywhere in between. Traditionally working in teams of two, the inspectors conduct driven and walked processes and complete regular pavement and other requested inspections.
Since RoadAI allows inspectors to gather sign and pavement condition data while driving, Northumberland quickly eliminated their inspectors’ commuting downtime and rolled out the solution to all 12 inspectors. Inspectors can accomplish more in less time with very little extra effort. Traditional road inspections require two inspectors: one to drive, the other to carry out observations. RoadAI only requires one driver in the vehicle, freeing staff time to focus on other tasks.
The solution has enabled Northumberland to significantly increase the efficiency of their inspectors as well as the rest of the department, and speed up the process of analyzing and maintaining roads. With tens of millions of video frames already available for use, identifying and responding to road damage is much faster and easier for the organization.
RoadAI is enabling Northumberland to do far more than safety inspections. They are also using it to: