The winner of an Innovate UK-funded contest, startup company Beepz LLP has launched a new smartphone app that will alert drivers in the county of Staffordshire to roadworks and delays on their daily traveling routes.
The Roadzwork app has initially been developed to serve the area within the Staffordshire County Council boundary, but it will be rolled out across a wider area within the coming months. Beepz won the contract to develop the app through strategic innovation consultancy Tenshi’s ‘Dare to Solve: Roadworks’ contest in August 2016, which was part of the Staffordshire Connected Roadworks Project, an Innovate UK-funded initiative that aims to reduce the impact of roadworks in the county. A partnership of Amey, Staffordshire County Council, CSC, Elgin, Staffordshire University, the Future Cities Catapult, and Tenshi, are developing a Smart City Platform to enable a more joined-up way of planning and carrying out roadworks.
The 18-month project will design, prototype, develop and trial a new spatial planning tool to streamline works on the highway, by combining maintenance programs from Staffordshire Highways, utility providers, and telecommunications companies.
The main aim of the Connected Roadworks Project is to promote new ways of working to reduce the cost of delivery of core city services, reduce the impact on the environment and the local economy, as well as reducing disruption, and inconvenience to citizens. As part of that latter goal, the contest sought solutions from startups and entrepreneurs in the UK and Europe to help local authorities, utility companies and their contractors, communicate with the public, and help people understand and prepare for planned and emergency works.
Staffordshire-based Beepz has now launched the Roadzwork app that will help road users find out about roadworks that affect their journey before they travel. The app enables users to enter their regular daily or weekly routes and the times they usually travel. If there are roadworks, emergency works or public events on their routes during these days and times, users are notified in advance of their trip. The notification includes information on the location, expected impact on traffic, the reason for the works, its current status, and provides an option to get directions to avoid the delay.
The app ensures that the road users only receive information that is applicable to their particular route. The app is currently available for Apple users, and is being developed for both Android and Windows operating systems.
“The Roadzwork app could make a big difference to people’s day-to-day journeys and we’re pleased to see it piloted here in Staffordshire,” commented the County Council’s head of highways, James Bailey. “We do all we can to inform people in advance of any of our works, but delays can also be caused by emergency utility works, incidents and public events. We will always look to use emerging technologies to help people understand and prepare for changes to their roads, avoid traffic congestion and delays, and feel less disruption to their daily lives. Having a local business develop this app is a bonus.”