Congestion Costs UK Businesses £20billion per Annum
70% of the
UK's workforce commutes daily to work via car, as more cars are on
the road and the times of work are widely generic, a commuting
workforce results in congestion hotspots. A report by CBI suggests
that congestion alone costs UK employers at least £20billion per
annum, in terms of inefficiency, missed appointments, late arrivals
and overrun schedules.
The Government recognises the affect of congestion on commuters and
businesses and The Traffic Management Act has been implemented to
the issues surrounding congestion, which requires local authorities
to provide information on traffic congestion to the public.
To comply with the Act, Halton Borough Council in the North West
employed Elwers, the UK's leading connectivity integrator, to design
a solution that
would allow them to comply with The Traffic Management Act at one of
the North West's congestion hotspots - Silver Jubilee Bridge
(commonly known as Runcorn-Widnes bridge).
The Silver Jubilee Bridge, based in Halton, is the primary route for
commuters to Liverpool, Widnes, Halton and Chester. Approximately
90,000 vehicles cross the bridge everyday, with peak times resulting
in congestion. A problem on or around the bridge can result in
traffic jams and tail backs in both directions.
"I use the Bridge to travel to work in Liverpool City Centre;
a 40 minute commute in peak traffic. At least one day a month I get
caught in horrific traffic, which can often turn my 40 minute
commute to 2 hours plus. If I could check the status of the bridge
and I could see there was a problem, I could choose an alternative
route or delay my journey, but once you get caught up in the
traffic, it can be a nightmare and very stressful if you are heading
into work", Greg Dudley, EAD Solicitors, Liverpool.
The Council had to comply with The Traffic Management Act
requirements by March 2006. It was decided that the preferred
solution would be to deliver real time images of the bridge via the
council's website to allow commuters to take an informed decision on
their journey before they set off. The bridge itself only had
power for lighting within the steel structure and road
infrastructure, there was no existing connectivity that could be
used, the solution required images to be captured and transmitted in
a high resolution format to the traffic monitoring station in
Runcorn, the location of the cameras being influenced by the
approach roads and existing bridge structures.
Elwers designed a bespoke solution that utilised 2 separate
point-to-point 5.8GHZ 28Mbps licence-free radios at each end of the
bridge. These both had 2 I/P Mpeg4 cameras focussing in opposite
directions. The 2 Axis cameras at each end are connected via 2
separate Alvarion B-Links. By using 2 separate links at opposite
ends of the bridge the Council now have resilience as well as cost
effective bandwidth for excellent quality moving
images without any disruption.
"The Council now enjoys a very cost effective solution that
they own. This network is expandable as the connectivity provided
has the potential to transmit images from more cameras if required -
with no degradation to the quality", Stewart Bradshaw,
Managing Director Elwers.
The Council is now working with Elwers to provide similar
connectivity solutions to other areas of congestion in Halton.
TOGETHER FREE FAMILY FUN DAY
THE event is
to be held at Duke St Park in Formby on Saturday 12 August 2006 from
12:00 (noon) to 4pm. On offer will be:-
0-5s Big Toddle
With thanks for the support of:-
Formby Parish Council
Dow High Ltd
Formby Tool Hire
REFORM HEALTH SYSTEM TO STOP SERVICE CUTS
THE health and
social care system must be reformed to avoid any further cuts to
services, council and NHS leaders said. The call comes after
the most comprehensive study of the impact where NHS trusts are in
deficit showed almost 7 out of 10 local authorities have been
Returns from 55 of the 78 local authorities in those deficit areas
reveal trusts have adopted a number of cost-cutting measures that
have impacted on councils, including:-
The withdrawal of funding from jointly funded projects.
A sharp increase in
the referral of patients that would normally be cared for by the NHS.
Paying no more than
one per cent inflation on existing contracts.
Measures local authorities have adopted to cope with the cutbacks
Withdrawing services from people with low-level care needs .
times for social care assessments and services.
resources from other services - including leisure facilities and
Using budget reserves.
Negotiating with - or
taking legal action against - the NHS over the non-payment of bills.
Council leaders stressed the deficits in some trusts were just one
of the pressures social care budgets are facing. A difficult
financial settlement from the Government, and the increasing needs
of an ageing population, have placed many in very difficult
Cllr David Rogers, the Local Government Association's social care
spokesperson, said:- "Health and social care are 2 sides of
the same coin. It is impossible not to cut services on one side
without hurting the other. This is not a name, blame and shame
game. Councils do not want to start a war of words with the NHS,
indeed the only way we will overcome these worrying problems is to
work more closely together. Local authorities are leading the
way in making efficiency savings and delivering ever better value
for money in the public sector. But the increasing numbers of people
in need of care, and these latest financial pressures, are forcing
many to cut services or increase council tax. In some cases they are
having to do both." Cllr Rogers added:-
"Decision making and spending by councils and the NHS must be
brought closer together to help some of the most vulnerable in
society. Working more closely together will undoubtedly help avert
some of the problems we have recently seen, and make all public
service leaders accountable to the people they serve."
Dr Gill Morgan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation which
represents more than 90% of NHS organisations, said:- "The
vast majority of NHS organisations are delivering excellent patient
care within budget. The deficits experienced by a small number of
trusts are in part the result of short-term pressures on the
service, including national targets and workforce reforms, as well
as longer-term issues such as major structural problems which have
been exposed by changes to accountancy rules.
NHS organisations with financial problems are taking action to
re-balance the books and plan for the future. However, it is clear
from the LGA survey that NHS deficits have had some effect on other
local services, just as local authority financial difficulties in
other areas of the country have had an adverse effect on NHS
It is tempting when you have financial problems of your own to blame
someone else or another organisation. However, the reality is that
when organisations are under financial pressure, this is precisely
the time when a collective approach is vital.
We need now to look at how local authorities and the NHS can
work in joint partnership and support each other through these
challenging times. Each NHS organisation and local authority has the
same goal after all - to provide the best local public services for
its community. It is only through regular communication, an
understanding of the pressures that both parties face and genuine
joint working that this will be achieved."