A new app has been developed in the UK to make it easy for road workers to report incursions into zoned areas as well as incidents of physical or verbal abuse. It will provide a long-wanted source of data about the scale of the problem, emerging hot spots for incidents and the analytics to finally stop the abuse of roadworkers.
The FYLD app is part of the Stamp it Out campaign, led by Safer Highways, Transport Scotland and the Department for Transport and has been designed to revolutionise the safety and efficiency of field teams based on real-time, data-driven decision-making.
“Any system implemented will only work if you get the user experience absolutely right, so our engagement sessions were a must to ensure we fully understood the challenges presently faced,” says Karl Simons OBE, executive director at FYLD and member of the Stamp It Out taskforce. “I have been disgusted over the years at the levels of physical and verbal abuse I have witnessed towards those working out on our public highways. The outcomes we have gathered through the engagement are staggering: our evidence showed that over 70% of fieldworkers spoken to had encountered either physical or verbal abuse in the past calendar month alone! This is grossly unacceptable and why we believe our new solution will empower anyone working on our public roads to report issues of abuse as they happen.”
Developing the app
As part of the development process, FYLD kicked off with with visiting multiple depots to conduct a series of frontline user engagement sessions. The aim of this engagement process was to ensure raw feedback from those who will use the app was harvested, and that the product being developed would meet their needs and be embraced as a positive step forward.
The app will be rolled out to the first users in December for trials, which will be followed by a broad launch across all Safer Highways member companies during ‘Respect Our Roadworkers Week’ in March next year.
FYLD’s Artificial Intelligence and machine learning technology lends itself to the Stamp It Out app, as the AI-driven platform enables anonymous reporting of incidents. It can capture voice notes, video, photos and text – which will let workers report in a way they are comfortable. FYLD will power a central repository of incident information and real time data and historic trends, letting remote managers really understand the challenges being faced by their teams and broader industry insight and change.
“I am delighted with the extensive support being provided by FYLD to Safer Highways, our member companies and – most importantly – our worers out on public highways,” says Kevin Robinson CEO at Safer Highways. “The values of the FYLD team are well aligned to Safer Highways, and their willingness to provide their cutting edge technology for free to keep our roadworkers safe is commendableEnsuring the safety and wellbeing of road workers is Stamp It Out’s main priority, and we are confident the app will make a positive change to the way in which they report the unfair abuse they receive while undertaking their vital work. I have watched for many years the negative impact this relentless abuse has on our workforce and we will Stamp it Out. The app is not only going to make it easier for workers to report all that is happening, but also for us to finally have a clear picture of the scale of this catastrophe.
“Our aim is that this becomes just the first stage in our drive to improve safety across not just the public highways but also for field workers in other sectors such as rail, something which the ORR (Office of Rail and Road) and ourselves are actively engaging with other member companies such as Clearview Intelligence to do. Our aspiration is to go beyond abuse and into a full circle approach to ensuring our people go home safely every day.
“The approach is something which we have undertaken, not just as a short-term, quick fix solution, but instead to provide a free to access tool which can be of benefit to the whole of the transportation sector for years to come.”