Report reveals that connected vehicles could be the trojan horse for digitisation of the Highways maintenance sector

In December 2017 the DfT launched a competition which asked local authorities to identify and under-take projects which would:

  • demonstrate the capability of connected vehicle data;
  • improve the quality of road condition and asset management data;
  • provide the business case for more widespread deployment across a number of highway authorities;
  • enable the development of smart asset strategies based on harvested intelligence; and
  • help support innovation within the private sector supply chain.

CONVERT was the title for the research project undertaken by Westminster City Council. Project CONVERT had 2 key objectives:

  1. assess the technique and benefits of transforming data acquired from in-vehicle laser and cameras into actionable intelligence, and
  2. provide insights into future asset and network management requirements.

The recently released report reveals that CONVERT, although it examined the feasibility of using LiDAR data for condition assessment, also set out to assess how such technology might help change the way things get done in the maintenance sector. For example, can maintainers use LiDAR data, or other visual data captured in real time from vehicles on the network, to inform their responses and prioritisation of maintenance activity? Can LiDAR data and its accuracy specifically offer efficiencies for maintenance scheme design and reduce the need for manual topographical survey? Does using LiDAR data, and other similar technology, offer the potential for improved maintenance, greater productivity and better upkeep of the network and assets on and in it?

These were the practical questions which CONVERT sought to help start to answer, and the short answer to all of those questions is yes.

Read our research report here