The pandemic has, for many of us, changed the journeys we make. As we spend more time in our local areas, active travel is a healthy, easy and convenient way of getting around for shorter journeys. It is a priority now more than ever that ‘everyone’ is able to access footways and facilities as part of their daily exercise to help with health and wellbeing.
Roadworks and construction activities often cause barriers to access. It is therefore important, we ensure all road users are fully considered during highway interventions. Transport for London (TfL) regularly undertake inclusive assessments with constructors called ‘construction impact environmental walks’. This method helps identify issues and supply mitigation measures to enable and improve access for the local community especially for disabled and older people.
During the pandemic, undertaking such methods has been challenging as attendees could be placed at risk. To mitigate this concern, TfL have collaborated with Southwark Council and constructors; Mace, Sir Robert McAlpine and Structuretone to trial an assessment method using a 360 degree video camera for a cluster of sites and protect staff.
3D Media Solutions were employed by Structuretone to video the footways around the perimeters of each associated construction site. They then arranged a virtual meeting in advance of the site visit to discuss operative safety, ensure communications went out to all associated site staff for awareness of the intended activity and instructions not to obstruct the exercise.
On the day, the operative and escort were instructed to wear full PPE including masks. The 3600 camera was attached to a hard hat which allowed a full surround view and removed focus away from the camera enabling the operative to concentrate on their safety during the walk. The method went smoothly with no issues reported.
The following day they arranged a viewing session online where they scrutinised the footway environment. The flexibility of the recording enables the observers to get a full 360 view as if they were there and to stop the video at any time to either zoom in, look around the area from all angles and take screen shots for a report.
The constructors were then instructed to make the relevant changes to improve access. This included relocation of warning signs, traffic management layout tweaks and briefs to be supplied to staff on behaviours e.g. not to obstruct footways, close vehicle doors which had been observed in the video etc.
A great method to use when working remotely saving travelling time, concerns with managing social distancing and maintaining personal safety.