Steer Davies Gleave develops modular footpath for London trial

29 January 2018 Consultancy.uk

An innovative modular pavement design is currently being deployed in the London area of Lavington Street. The new walkway, which has been reconfigured by consulting firm Steer Davies Gleave to improve pedestrian access in the region, will be tested for six months.

As part of the development of the Bankside district of London, part of the wider London Borough of Southwark, the Better Bankside not-for profit organisation was formed in. The organisation works with location businesses, many of which pay a levy to the organisation, to improve various aspect of the district.

The Bankside Boardwalk project was developed by the non-profit in 2016. The aim of the project is to explore how changing situations in cities and district, can be seamlessly integrated through simple transformations of space to better facilitate the outcomes of the new conditions. Much of the public space in cities (up to 80%) are roads, even though many are underutilised.Steer Davies Gleave develops modular footpath for London trialFor the project in question, the project explores how a temporary reconfiguration of Lavington Street to a one-way street, provides freed up space, which can then be re-appropriated as an extension to the footpath. The new footpath will be modular by design, allowing it to be deployed quickly at locations when new configurations are deemed appropriate – such as during construction, different times of the year, as temporary hoardings or for roadworks.

Better Bankside ran a design competition for the development of the temporary footpath, with ten submissions of sufficient quality received by the firm, representing around 28 organisations in the wider submission development process. A panel of key partners Southwark Council and Transport for London took part in the selection of the consultancy to provide designs, with Steer Davies Gleave winning the tender process. The firm recently worked alongside Ramboll to help deliver a public transport overhaul in Southampton.

Steer Davies Gleave developed the innovative modular design for the new footpath, before it was manufactured and installed by Trueform. The walkway will be in place for a period of six months, during which time Better Bankside will study the effect of the project on peoples’ experience of the new built environment.

Peter Piet Associate Director at Steer Davies Gleave said, “We are delighted to see the boardwalk installed as the bright colours and striking pattern of the boardwalk dramatically enhances the appearance of Lavington Street while the area undergoes substantial building work. It creates space for people to walk comfortably along the street and has places where people can sit and talk. I would like to thank Better Bankside, Southwark Council, Transport for London and the local community for their contributions in developing this innovative streetscape product”.

Modular technology has been employed by several projects in recent years. Most recently, this saw engineering consultancy Arup leverage the technology to develop a new bridge for locations where traditional technology cannot easily be deployed.

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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.