The problems of traffic jams, unlit streets and endless roadworks may soon be eased for the residents of Kent after the implementation of a centralised contract and works management system by the county council,
The council hopes the system will improve the maintenance of highways, street lights and roadworks by providing contractors and agents with immediate access to real-time information across the county.
The Mayrise system, which uses advanced terminal server technology, is maintained centrally and accessed through "live" terminals. It links 12 highway units, run by Kent's district councils, with PC terminals linked to a central server in Maidstone.
With just one database, there is complete synchronisation so that all users know the exact status of any faults and works in their area. Kent's street lighting contractor is already linked to Mayrise, receiving works orders and reporting back electronically, and the system is now being used to manage and co-ordinate roadworks.
In the highways department, links are being established to a works management system operated by contractor Ringway.
As well as linking the client, agents and contractors, the system is also expected to provide significant benefits through the interconnection of all the main highway functions.
"By using the same system for street works, street lighting and highways maintenance, implementation is easier, data duplication is avoided, and the co-ordination of activities becomes viable," says Toby Howe, of Kent's Network Management Unit.
For street lighting, Mayrise provides online access to inventory, contractor and customer records, with facilities for maintenance, fault management, electrical testing and financial control. The council had previously operated a distributed computer system for street lighting based on standalone PCs at each highways unit.
"With real-time data, everyone is in the picture all of the time. This means we can handle enquiries immediately, armed with a real knowledge of what is going on at street level," says Howe.
Kent is also in the process of implementing Mapnow, Mayrise's in-built mapping tool, which will quickly locate faults.
This was first published in January 2001