From road repair to smart lighting, the City of Edinburgh Council is driving cost savings
As the capital city of Scotland and home to the Scottish Parliament, as well as three globally recognized universities, a World Heritage Site and the Fringe Festival (the world’s largest arts and entertainment festival), the City of Edinburgh often finds its infrastructure pushed to the limit. The city’s Place Management team is responsible for a wide range of public services and asset management, from roads and public railways to trees and waste management. They recently consolidated data on the assets under their jurisdiction within the Precisely Confirm Intelligent Infrastructure Management solution. Having a “single source of truth” for this information facilitates better decision-making, improves efficiency of inspections and asset maintenance, and is saving the council money.
Since 2013, the Place Management team had been using the Confirm cloud-based solution to manage data on some of the assets for which it has responsibility, but other types of asset information resided in separate, siloed applications. “Traditionally, we chose best-of-breed individual systems to support many of the individual services we were providing,” says Gareth Barwell, Head of Place Management at the City of Edinburgh Council. “Like many councils, we invested in a road system, a tree system, etc. We did not have a single view of our overall infrastructure.”
This disjointed approach to asset management resulted in a repair backlog throughout the city. At the same time, pulling together information for necessary reports and one-off requests was a challenge. City Councillors preparing for upcoming meetings would enquire about all kinds of statistics, from meter usage to frequency of certain types of road repair issues. The diversity of systems storing asset data often made it difficult to retrieve this information in a timely manner.
Maintaining multiple systems was also expensive. Faced with the requirement to cut £41 million from the 2019-20 budget, the council looked to technology to lower infrastructure management costs and provide better service to the community. One area in which the Place Management team harnessed leading-edge technology was to address the nearly 29,000 resident complaints they received each year related to aging street lighting. The city decided to invest £16 million in upgrading to LED smart lighting. Barwell and his team knew that consolidating more asset management data into the Confirm solution could cut costs.