Road maintenance goes mobile for council

A customised application is helping both on-field and office staff manage roads more efficiently.

Lake Macquarie Council developed a mobile-based software in-house to create more efficient maintenance for its $1.7 billion in road infrastructure spread over 755 square kilometres.

The app allows council to allocate jobs to on-field staff through their iPads and for these staff to log photos, notes and instructions and provide work updates.

The app forms part of the local government’s digital economy strategy in which staff are exploring ways technology can improve connectivity between communities and the council, including how to use smart city technology within council.

Caitlin Botha, business transformation lead at Lake Macquarie Council told Government News that the application has unlocked new efficiencies for on-field and office staff alike.

“It helps us manage maintenance work. For instance, when someone calls and says there’s a pot hole or defect the system allows us to go and inspect the defect and it displays on a map planned major works. So they can make an informed decision about the type of work they do there.”

Once field staff attend the site to assess a road defect, they can use the app to view works, take photos, add instructions and assign the job to field crew if needed, Ms Botha said.

“Staff are also able to take photos and write in instructions and assign works for the crew. Field crew who do the repairs are alerted of the job on their iPad and the system sorts job by location but also priority.”

Data collected by on-field council staff about the progress of road maintenance can be logged in the app and accessed by customer-service representatives.

In saving staff trips back to the office, the application has delivered considerable operational efficiencies for council, Ms Botha said.

“It’s definitely made their jobs easier and for the people in the office this data is crucial to help them make good decisions about road works.”

The app also enables staff to quickly access information to inform their ongoing capital works programs, Ms Botha said.

“The application also feeds into the long term capital works program as a tool to decide the main road works.”

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