Gaist: Empowering councils with comprehensive roads data

Reliable, safe roads are fundamental to our everyday lives and to flourishing communities and economies.

Their performance and condition hinges on the decisions of their owners and operators.

Every day, local authorities face the same challenging questions: Which roads to prioritise for treatments? How to defend those decisions? How to apportion resources and grapple with tightened budgets? How to build cases for further funding?

To address these problems, asset managers need one critical ‘tool’ – data. That data must be detailed, accurate and comprehensive and help them to build a rich understanding of the asset, its existing condition and its likely condition in 5/10 years.

It must also enable them to confidently answer the ‘what if?’ questions – What if we intervene with this material? What if we take this action?

It should support them to take the best decisions over the whole-life of the asset – ensuring its reliability and continued high performance.  

Technology – transforming condition surveys

For many years, local highway authorities have relied on the Surface Condition Assessment for the National Network of Roads (SCANNER) survey system for capturing and submitting roads condition data to Government.

But, advances in technology have resulted in a number of competing systems coming to market. Today, these are transforming how condition surveys are undertaken and the outcomes that result for the network operators and for the customers who use our roads every day.

At Gaist, we identified the need for this many years ago. We set to work to produce a new type of solution that would harness technologies to provide the deep intelligence on the road and roadscape that is vital to inform the most effective repair and maintenance strategies.

The advanced processes underpinning our condition surveys enable us to capture the most detailed possible information on the highway and present our customers with a level of analysis and modelling which has not previously been possible. The benefits include:

  • High-definition data in an unparalleled level of detail, covering over 35 different defect types and providing a new level of understanding for asset managers.
  • User-friendly, colour-mapped analysis
  • Integrates with existing asset management systems at no additional cost
  • Sustainable:  Gaist is accredited to ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management systems.
  • Cost-effective (don’t take our word for it, hear from our customers below)

Bristol and Edinburgh: The benefits of our new approach

More than 40 local authorities are now working with Gaist to secure the depth of intelligence and analysis they need to underpin their asset management strategies and extend the life of their networks.

At Bristol Council, Sean Taylor, explains why he turned to Gaist when he began the search for solutions which would help him manage his network more effectively.

“We found SCANNER was not always providing the outcomes we needed to make informed decisions on our unclassified and urban roads.

‘This gives us a real opportunity to get the best value for money.”

It’s the same story in Edinburgh, where Sean Gilchrist, Asset and Performance Manager for City of Edinburgh Council, explains why he turned to Gaist in 2020: “Gaist carried out a full network survey for us. We had numerous data sets captured with just one drive-by survey.

 “It gives us fantastic data without actually having to go on site, which can be quite costly.”

With Gaist, he can also gain the holistic view of the network he needs to develop the most effective planning and maintenance strategy. “One of the main reasons we went with Gaist is that their data is compatible with Confirm (its asset management system). It allowed us to bring in that data into our existing asset management system.”

Repairs and maintenance work can be properly grouped together, minimising costs and the disruption caused to residents, he explains.

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