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Kiwi ingenuity to ease roadwork rage

Embargoed until 6am Thursday April 17

Kiwi ingenuity to ease roadwork rage.


Roadwork rage is a resident watching their recently sealed road being dug up again, and again and again.

That’s where e-ROAD comes in; a clever bit of kiwi designed and built technology that will improve communication and co-operation between the country’s council’s, utilities and anyone else working on the roads and footpaths.

It’s a unique on-line solution that goes live today (Thursday April 17) at Upper Hutt City Council, with Wanganui District Council next in line and other councils preparing to follow suit.

e-ROAD has been developed by BureauCo, a virtual company with directors in Wellington and Wanganui.

“It’s about working smarter,” says BureauCo director Jim Coe. “All too often the same piece of road is dug up repeatedly through lack of communication and coordination. Councils, utilities and a full cast of contractors are all engaged in the same fundamental job: digging up the road. But, how easy is it for them to plan works efficiently to minimise disruption to the public and unnecessary cost to themselves?” he says.

Gas industry research puts the cost of accidental damage to its services by third parties, such as roading contractors, at $7 million a year. e-ROAD will help reduce that.

Today (Thursday April 17) Upper Hutt City Council will switch from its paper based system to the online e-ROAD application for all council road works and from August will require anyone else working in its roading corridor to use the new system. All subscribers need is simple internet access.

Upper Hutt City Council Roading Manager Horace Parker says it will mean less damage to services and much better co-ordination.

“It will make it safer for everyone working out there, and it will mean a better service for the public and operators.”

It is also likely to cut the cost to the public of applying for a Road Opening Notice because e-ROAD will save on administration time. The council is currently reviewing the fee, says Mr Parker.

A company wanting to work in the roading corridor will have to apply online through e-ROAD, which will automatically identify what services are in the area and notify all affected parties by email. It notes all responses, compiles a to-do-list and ensures all steps are followed before a final notice is issued.

Mr Parker says it won’t alter the need to mark-out services onsite, but it does ensure that a service provider has the opportunity to comment on each request and notify the applicant when a mark out is required.

Utility companies and roading contractors have been briefed about the new system at a series of meetings.

e-ROAD has been endorsed by Local Government Online (LGOL), which has named it “best of breed” and BureauCo the provider of choice.

Local Government Online Chief Executive Jim Higgins says e-ROAD is the best application he’s seen for co-ordinating work on the country’s roads because it’s flexible and easy to use. “It’s an excellent application and certainly deserves to succeed.”

e-ROAD is the concept of BureauCo directors Wanganui-based Mr Coe and Wellington-based Stephen Parker and embodies a significant personal investment.

Mr Coe is confident more councils will pick-up e-ROAD and says there is also huge export potential; all able to be delivered from New Zealand.

To learn more visit www.bureauco.com

ENDS

A bit of background

How e-ROAD works:

e-ROAD makes it possible for all parties working in the roading corridor to work through real-time business processes virtually on-line.

It is a web-based software application that provides a single access point for many users to minimise the effort of communication, consultation and compliance when working in the road. It is extremely user-friendly and presented very simply.

The workflow is broken down into steps and delivered via user-friendly ‘wizard’ technology.

Within each process a user creates a work area on a map, completes forms provided in pull-down lists and submits the Notice to appropriate parties such as utility asset owners.

The parties affected by the Notice are advised by e-mail and, by logging in, can view, comment and take any required actions. The application in turn triggers an e-mail to the originator thus completing the first of possibly several cycles of interaction. It also prompts users to apply for any authorisations or submit any documentation required for legal, regulatory or quality reasons at the appropriate times.

e-ROAD is ‘rules-driven’ so users can set preferences for the format of reports, graphics, maps etc as well as individual requirements for work standards and key performance indicators such as codes of practice, sign-off authorities and staff certification requirements etc.

BureauCo

BureauCo was set up by Jim Coe and Stephen Parker in 2004 to develop innovative, user-friendly applications to enable organisations to communicate, share information and co- operate in communities of interest to enhance their capabilities.

“We believe that those organisations that proactively forge communities of interest around common objectives - such as minimising disruption due to road works for example – perform better. It’s about empowering cooperation and enhancing capability.”

e-ROAD is the first of those applications and was built by Explorer Graphics Limited (EGL), a Porirua City based company.

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