Econ had just finished fitting the Warwickshire Council’s winter fleet, made up of 32 wholly Econ vehicles, with their new Nav Track and dedicated E-drive systems, when news of their success in the National Highways and Transport Satisfaction Survey was announced.
Out of 111 Highway Authorities and 28 County Councils who took part in the survey, Warwickshire County Council – were voted joint top performing Council for highways maintenance for a 2nd year in a row. Coming out top for public satisfaction for highway maintenance, dealing with potholes and cold weather gritting.
Warwickshire invested heavily 2 years ago in their winter fleet and now run a ‘complete fleet plan’. “Running older vehicles has previously led to a lot of breakdowns, so we will now be replacing vehicles on a cyclical basis” says Simon Mosely, Contract and Policy Engineer at Warwickshire Council.
“There is a national shortage of winter drivers, so finding those who know our routes was proving harder each year. Investing in the Econ E-Drive and Navtrak system allow us to pre-programme routes, as well as pre-setting flow rate and width patterns for de-icing. The driver can simply switch on and follow an efficient route ensuring maximum network coverage for the least miles driven, it also ensures we are providing the right level of de-icing for the current conditions and this can now be achieved with minimal training. We are confided that these measure will help us to maintain our position in next years vote”, added Simon.
Despite being one of the 18 developed economies to drive down carbon dioxide emissions over the last decade, the UK has recently become the FIRST National Government to declare an ‘Environmental Emergency’ and have legally committed to a further 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Warwickshire, and many other local authorities have supported this with an ambition to be ‘carbon zero by 2025’.
“We take our carbon neutral position really seriously”, says Simon. So from this winter, we will deliver a programme of ‘cold network routing’ for marginal nights. Using the Vaisala weather station technology, we have invested heavily in thermally mapping our network, which has provided us with a list of ‘cold spots’ showing which parts of our network should be serviced during ‘marginal gritting nights’. Knowing which areas are more vulnerable to ice, enables you to concentrate your resources without putting our road users at risk, where previously a “precautionary grit” across the whole network was the only solution. The combined measures of the Econ E-drive, Navtrak and ‘cold network routing’ will help us not only to reduce the cost of gritting without compromising our service, but the added advantage of reduced miles travelled forms part of our “Environmental Emergency” strategy concludes Simon.