06 March 2024

The blueprint for streamlined street works: Lincolnshire's Street Works Charter

In an era of infrastructure investment, the demand for road space is at an all-time high. Consequently, highway authorities, utilities, and contractors now face a heightened responsibility to collaborate effectively for more streamlined and successful road and street works management.

Lincolnshire County Council's recently established Street Works Charter acts as a blueprint not only for local stakeholders but also for the entire industry to emulate. This comprehensive strategy, supported by robust partnerships, improved communication, and a steadfast commitment to safety and efficiency, is reshaping the narrative of street works management. 

About the Lincolnshire Street Works Charter

Lincolnshire's Street Works Charter has been established to improve the management and communication of roadworks for the benefit of road users in Lincolnshire. The charter acts as a commitment to drive positive change, ensuring work is completed safely whilst keeping disruption to a minimum.

The linchpin of this agreement is its collaborative ethos. Under the supervision of the council’s Chief Executive, Debbie Barnes, Lincolnshire champions a cooperative approach that sees utilities and contractors as partners rather than separate entities. The Charter necessitates a shared responsibility for traffic management, asset protection, workforce safety, and a unified drive for innovation.

Drawing on the collective insights of all stakeholders, this initiative arose from the necessity for change. The shared vision acknowledges that in the intricate network of utility and highway operations, isolation leads to inefficiencies, heightened risks, and a loss of public trust.

Thirteen utility firms and contractors have endorsed the charter alongside Lincolnshire County Council, pledging to ensure a better future for the county's roads and residents. These include:  

  • Anglian Water
  • Balfour Beatty Living Places
  • Cadent
  • Colas
  • CityFibre
  • Harlaxton Engineering Services 
  • Lightspeed
  • National Grid
  • Northern Powergrid
  • Quickline Communications
  • SpringFibre
  • Upp Broadband (now part of Virgin Media O2)
  • WSP 

The charter is set to evolve with the changing needs and innovations of the sector but is grounded on 10 fundamental principles.  

Let's dig into these principles and how they can serve as a blueprint for the rest of the UK. 

  • Ensure highway network availability: Continuously work to minimise disruption by taking reasonable measures to maintain network availability in accordance with permit schemes. 
  • Prioritise resources: Prioritise resources to road and street works with traffic management and, where possible, works that are likely to cause greater disruption on the network in order to minimise disruption to the busiest roads. 
  • Coordinate urgent and emergency works: When viable, urgent and emergency works should be coordinated with the highway authority to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum. 
  • Monitor & implement effective traffic management: Minimise traffic congestion by effectively assessing traffic management methods in the early planning stage to ensure the appropriate approach is used to safeguard workers and the public. Roads should be opened to traffic as soon as possible when work sites are unattended or where traffic management is no longer required for site safety. There is a commitment to reducing road closures whenever reasonably practical. 
  • Improve & maintain health & wellbeing: Contribute to and improve the health, safety and welfare of the workforce and the population of the relevant region. Maintain safe and accessible routes for pedestrians and cyclists and ensuring that vulnerable groups are not unduly affected by works. 
  • Establish a collaborative & cooperative culture: Develop positive, creative and innovative working relationships between the highway authority and all utilities and contractors that operate in the region to share intelligence and collaborate. 
  • Create thriving environments: Work together to protect, enhance and balance environmental and social needs through cooperation and intelligence sharing. Ensure communities are connected and resilient. 
  • Protect the highway: Complete "right first-time" reinstatements and ensure identified defects are corrected to reduce the need for a return visit to the same location. 
  • Communicate clearly: Provide effective, clear and reliable public information about works activity. For major planned works, all details should be shared with all stakeholders regarding the nature and duration of works, traffic management, support for vulnerable groups, planned end date, working hours, points of contact and frequently asked questions. 
  • Innovate & improve processes: Continually improve how works are carried out on the highway by sharing new techniques, ideas and product information to foster collaborative working and protect the highway asset. Processes and systems should be continuously developed to ensure they are effective in delivering an efficient service.  


Embracing collaboration and innovation

At their core, all the Street Works Charter principles are focused on collaboration and innovation. Street works are necessary and play a crucial role in upholding essential services, facilitating development, and enhancing infrastructure - but they can be disruptive. To reduce impact on traffic flow and the public, strong partnerships and shared, efficient processes are critical. 

Lincolnshire County Council sets a great example with its adept use of one.network. The platform sits at the heart of their operational success, enabling the Street Works team to plan and coordinate works, as well as monitor traffic flow and communicate with the public in real-time. 

However, the true power of one.network lies in the unified operational view it offers for highway authorities, utilities and contractors. The shared map interface provides Lincolnshire with detailed visibility not only of their own works but also those of third parties. This transparent, comprehensive view of the network empowers greater coordination and communication between stakeholders. 

Lincolnshire already uses one.network to collaborate with over 50% of the Street Works Charter signatories and is eager for expansion. With all major stakeholders in the county onboard, the charter will progress more swiftly and streamlined, efficient and collaborative street works management will be one step closer. Centralising operations through a unified system will serve as a beacon for authorities, utilities, and contractors across the UK, propelling us towards a brighter future for all road users. 

Lincolnshire County Council has written the first chapter of the street works success story; now it's time for others to pick up the pen and script a future marked by seamless coordination, collaboration and communication.

To learn more about Lincolnshire County Council’s use of one.network, read the customer story here. 

Want to embrace innovation and take your first steps towards street works success? Get in touch.