Technology is great. Only a century ago, it would have taken a horse-drawn road gritting cart at least 12 days to grit the entire Westminster network!
Thankfully, today – in our era of automation – our ability to take on snow and ice has reached new heights. Playing a vital role in the UK’s winter service artillery are GPS-guided gritting vehicles with advanced salt spreading technology, which give winter service providers the chance to be more precise in treating ice and snow during the winter season.
And every year, when the temperature dips (or sometimes in April, when it snows – if it’s 2021), the nation eagerly anticipates the arrival of gritting vehicles, the unsung heroes of winter, to spread more than just festive cheer.
In fact, a quick search into Google’s Trend data shows us that the public really care when their roads are gritted.
So, it’s no surprise that across the country, local authorities are increasingly looking for new ways to give residents a say and keep them engaged on this important issue.
Driving community engagement
Recently we’ve seen a number of social media driven campaigns, where the public are invited to name their local authority’s gritting fleet.
Oldham Council was among the first to gain publicity in this way in 2016, allowing local children to unleash their creative energy by naming local authority gritters. A number of councils have since followed suit, often to hilarious effect (by now we know what you get when you let the internet name transportation vehicles – remember R.R.S. Boaty McBoatface?).
Scotland’s gritters in particular have risen to prominence in recent years due to their hilarious names. From Gritney Spears, to Sir Andy Flurry, David Plowie and Darth Spreader, there have been a chilling number of puns to flurry out of this initiative…
And with such brazen public appetite for positive dialogue, our latest software has been designed to keep communities engaged in winter service.
Introducing ‘Where is my Gritter’ – live gritter tracking
Alongside ‘how to avoid potholes’, ‘where is my gritter’ is also an important question aimed at many local authorities (and search engines) during winter. When gritting services start operating in October the public is often directed to head to their local Highways twitter handle and search under #grittertwitter for updates. But this can be a lengthy process.
With community engagement forming a key part of local service delivery, our winter maintenance package allows local authorities to not only monitor and report on gritter activity but to also have a reliable portal through which to communicate key information with the general public.
Our new service – Where is my Gritter? – provides a fast and accurate way to relay this information.
The site displays gritting vehicles on a map and allows the public to watch in real time as the vehicles make their way around their designated gritting route – giving the public a convenient place to access live information about the treatment of their local roads.
This is especially engaging if the gritting fleet has been named by the public – so the residents of North Lanarkshire, for example, can watch intently as Gritney Spears makes her way down the Blairlinn Road.
The site offers a best practice way to deliver service information, and reduces administration, as local authorities can link directly to the site from their website and social media accounts, rather than having to repeat the same information across multiple channels.
And in a culture that’s increasingly becoming more safety aware, the site provides a reliable way for the public to pinpoint which routes are gritted and safe.
If you’d like more information about ‘Where is my gritter?’, or any of the other features of the Exactrak winter maintenance package, fill in the form below and one of the team will be in touch.
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