You are on page 1of 45

Highway Asset Management

Quick Start Guidance Note

Levels of Service


1 Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 1
2 Background ..................................................................................................................... 3
3 What are Levels of Services? – Some Definitions ....................................................... 4
4 What form should they take? ......................................................................................... 5
5 Customers, Stakeholders and Authority Objectives ................................................... 8
6 Relationship between Levels of Service and Authority Objectives ........................... 9
7 Level of Service and Engineering Standards ............................................................. 11
8 Suggested Approach .................................................................................................... 15
9 Where does this lead us? ............................................................................................. 17
10 Comments on Highway Authority Work ..................................................................... 18
Appendix A - References .......................................................................................................... 19
Appendix B – Customer Types and their Requirements ....................................................... 20
Appendix C – Code of Practice Themes ................................................................................. 22
Appendix D – Examples of Highway Authority Work ............................................................ 24






Contributing Authors:

Richard Ireland Surrey County Council
Paul Fearon St Helens Council
Les Hawker Transport for London
Table of Contents
1


This advice note has been produced on behalf of CSS and TAG in order to assist organisations,
particularly local highway authorities, in defining and implementing Levels of Service for their
networks. It is one of a series of similar notes that have been drawn up to provide further
guidance to that given in the CSS Framework for Highways Asset Management on some of the
key areas of asset management.
Figure 1 describes a generic asset management system taken from the CSS Framework. It
illustrates how the main activities are linked, and suggests the priority for addressing each of
these, as part of an overall management framework. This particular note addresses Levels of
Service (LoS), which is highlighted within the framework as a core part of an asset
management plan and one of the main drivers for the development of this approach.
The CSS Framework defines Levels of Service as descriptions of “the quality of the service for
the asset for the benefit of the customers. They are composite indicators that reflect the social,
economic and environmental goals of the community”.
For a number of organisations there may be some confusion about the term Levels of Service
and the particular role that this plays in the wider development of asset management within the
organisation. It is hoped that this further guidance will help to clarify this, both for organisations
that are already well ahead in their asset-related work, as well as for those that have yet to
embark on that journey.
The following sections initially consider what is meant when referring to Levels of Service, they
provide some current definitions, and then go on to distinguish between Levels of Service and
engineering standards, as well as describing how all of this should come together. The
remaining part of the note makes reference to some of the work of local highway authority
organisations’ in this particular area of asset development.

1 Introduction
2



Figure 1 Generic Asset Management System (from CSS Framework)


3

Reference has been made previously to the important role that Levels of Service play in
developing asset management. However, the idea is not a new one. It has been recognised for
some time that highway engineers need to identify and respond to customer requirements. The
Institution of Civil Engineers first published, “Managing the Highways Network” in 1994.
This document included a number of recommendations and one, in particular, was pertinent to
the work currently being undertaken. It said that: “Targets for performance should be set to
reflect the needs of different customers who use, or are affected by the highways network.” At
the time this referred to performance targets, rather than Levels of Service, and proposed that
these were nationally set, constrained by the environment and economy and based on the
function of particular highways. The emphasis is slightly different now. However, that earlier
publication was proposing an approach to highway management, which more directly reflected
customer needs, and is now being embraced through asset management techniques.
A number of clear customer priorities, or themes, have emerged from this work, providing a
measure of high-level consistency between users. This work identified a need for Safe Travel,
for an Accessible Network and Reliable Journeys, and to give emphasis to Environmental
Considerations – all part of probably four to six broad areas of priority for customers. However,
the document summarises this work by saying that there are many different types of customer,
all of which have their own particular needs and expectations, with the potential for conflicting
interests. It is suggested that differences of this sort could be considered as part of the next
level of more specific service levels.
More recently, in April 2007, the Highways Efficiency Liaison Group (HELG) produced guidance
on “Identifying and Measuring Efficiency in Local Highways”, and subsequently in the latest
version of the Highways Efficiency Toolkit (Version 2, 2008) that included two matrices (A and
B) showing a number of customer requirements. These were set within the Code of Practice
headings of Safety, Serviceability, Sustainability, etc and matched these to some broadly-
described engineering standards (Matrix A) and performance indicators (Matrix B). These
present one particular approach to matching customer priorities with our own engineering work.
A copy of these tables has been reproduced in Appendix B.
It is also worth making reference to the work undertaken by TRL / IPSOS Mori, at this point.
They recently carried out a comparatively rigorous statistical exercise to determine the priorities
and concerns of a cross-section of road and footway users. Again, the results of this work
provide highway engineers with a strong message about what is of particular importance to
users. It goes further than that by highlighting the type of defects that give rise to particular
concern. The results for roads are summarised below:
A priority for customers is to be confident that road surfaces are safe (equivalent to their
status and use)
A further priority is that they should provide a broadly comfortable ride (although realistically
acknowledging that this isn’t always possible)
Two further priorities relate to the need for reliable journey times and a concern for value for
money road improvements
This national work provides real evidence about what customers are seeking from their
experience with the highway asset and crucial guidance about framing our high-level Levels of
Service.


2 Background
4


To define Levels of Service it has been suggested they are best described as statements about
the level of performance of the asset, and are written in terms that customers can understand.
They relate to broad outcomes, which are of particular interest to the public and cover key
areas like safety, availability, condition and accessibility.
There are other, more recent definitions. The CSS Framework for Highway Asset Management
states: “Levels of Service describe the quality of service provided by the asset for the benefit of
customers.” It goes on to say that these are composite indicators that reflect the social,
economic and environmental goals of the community (both for those using the asset and
affected by it).
A further definition appears in the Code of Practice for the Maintenance of Highway Structures.
“A statement of the performance of the asset in terms that the stakeholder can understand.
These Levels of Service cover the condition of the asset, as well as non-condition demand
aspirations.”
It is possible to summarise all these by saying that Levels of Service are non-technical
statements of service objectives or outcomes, which can be understood by our customers, and
which reflect their priorities and interests. They provide us with a link to our own engineering
standards. It is also important to understand that they relate to the importance of the whole road
or network rather than to individual assets. Asset components are addressed by more detailed
engineering standards and measures.
For the purposes of the document, the definition of Levels of Service given in section 2.2 of the
CSS Framework has been adopted.
All of these definitions are reassuringly consistent and perhaps this indicates a fairly clear
understanding of the role that Levels of Service play in the asset management process. Whilst
this role may be reasonably apparent, what is perhaps less clear is the form that these
statements should take, their relationship with corporate objectives and with the engineering
standards, and how success in meeting these objectives should be measured.

3 What are Levels of Services? – Some
Definitions
5

Levels of Service are statements of the key requirements or expectations of customers when
they use the highway asset, or when it directly affects them in some other way. They are
expressions of desired outcomes for customers, and are concerned with how the asset
performs in supporting delivery of those outcomes, rather than in performance in a technical
sense.
Levels of Service should be public facing, high-level statements, described in comparatively
broad terms. By their nature they are likely to be few in number, perhaps no more than six, and
many of these will represent a common public pressure in most, if not all, local highway
authorities. They will be concerned with issues like safety, the highway environment and
journey reliability. As ”public facing” statements they are written in a non-technical way that can
be easily understood by customers. They make no reference to the way that engineers
measure our progress in improving the asset, or in the way that its condition, or technical
performance, is assessed.
Local highway authorities do have the option of breaking down these Levels of Service into
more detailed service statements. These optional, lower-level, service levels provide them with
the opportunity of identifying issues which are of particular concern to their local customers and
to vary the emphasis accordingly. It also provides the opportunity to reflect the role that is
played by the highway asset in different locations. These more detailed Levels of Service are
also public facing statements. Some examples of how these might work are provided later in
this section.
Three examples of public facing Levels of Service have been produced below. These have been
constructed around some of the evidence highlighted in the previous paragraphs. They are
included purely as a guide in order to demonstrate how these may be written and it is, of
course, for organisations themselves to decide what is most suitable for their purposes.

SAFETY
To ensure that our customers feel safe, and are confident about personal
safety, when they use the highway asset.
AVAILABILITY / ACCESSIBILITY
To provide our customers with a reasonable level of confidence that their
journeys on the highway asset will be predictable and timely. To ensure that
the highway network is available and accessible, as far as possible.
ENVIRONMENTAL
To progressively reduce the environmental impact of the highway asset to
the benefit of all our customers.

There is no suggestion that these examples are the type of service statement that should be
widely adopted. However, these provide a clear guide on the type of high level, public-facing
statement that needs to be drawn up, and agreed, by every organisation.
Earlier in this section reference was made to the use of lower level service statements (again,
public facing). Examples of some of the statements that may be used, relating to the three
examples referred to above, are included here. As indicated previously, what these help to do is
to reinforce particular local issues and to highlight the different emphasis that is required within
the asset. They also enable organisations to describe customer requirements that are
appropriate to asset use and need. That might mean including a lower level of service
4 What form should they take?
6

exclusively for strategic routes or classified roads for, say, ‘comfortable journeys’. In general,
they will provide a closer connection with engineering standards. The following are intended as
a guide only.

SAFETY
Taking appropriate care, our customers are able to travel during
inclement weather with some confidence that the risk to themselves
and others is acceptable.
(Issues are likely to relate to winter maintenance and potential flooding)
That our customers are able to walk within certain broadly defined
locations with some confidence regarding their own personal safety.
(Issues are likely to relate to urban footway lighting and input from other services)
To be able to travel safely and comfortably on all ‘main’ roads through the authority.
(Issues likely to relate to road surface slipperiness, reducing numbers of defects,
signing and road marking standards, and co ordination with Statutory Undertakers on
all routes)



AVAILABILITY/ACCESSIBILITY
To address customer concerns that travelling on the highway network
is disrupted more than is necessary and that value for money should be
improved by giving emphasis to longer life solutions.(Issues likely to relate to
planned/reactive work balance and management of Utility works)
That our customers can be confident that their journeys are safer and more
efficient because of timely and effective directional information(Issues likely to
relate to sign selection, positioning, cleaning and response to overhanging
vegetation and repairs)


ENVIRONMENTAL
That our customers can see that the local authority is taking a lead in
reducing its carbon footprint.(Issues relate to recycling, use and disposal of materials,
use of vehicles, etc)
To respond to customer desires that wild flora and fauna are
encouraged in appropriate verge locations.(Issues relate to grass cutting and weed
control and biodiversity initiatives)


The main themes or objectives, which are set out in the Code of Practice for Highway
Maintenance Management (Well Maintained Highways) have been referred to previously. They
were: Safety; Serviceability; and Sustainability
1
. These are not, in themselves, public-facing
service statements. However, what they do is to highlight those areas of work where Levels of
Service require defining.
This section has outlined an approach that can be employed to identify Levels of Service at one
or perhaps two levels. However, some local highway authorities have identified more detailed
versions, which might be considered to be quite similar in content to engineering standards.

1
the other major objective is “Customer Service” which is not considered here, since by
definition it underpins all Levels of Service
7

This will be evident from one or two of the examples referred to later. This may not matter as
long as they can be drafted in accordance with the advice given earlier in this guidance. There
are no hard and fast rules governing the development of service standards and organisations
should proceed in a way that is most suitable to them. Nevertheless, there is one word of
warning: do not confuse Levels of Service (at whatever level of detail), which are public facing
outcomes for customers, with engineering standards or with performance measures (again, at
whatever level) which allow success in delivering those outcomes to be assessed and
managed. These are quite different and a later section will show how these should fit together.
An important aim of this guidance note is to encourage all organisations to adopt this common
language and understanding.




8

In determining Levels of Service, following the generic approach set out in the CSS Framework,
it is necessary both to identify and understand who stakeholders and customers are for the
services being provided, and to identify the organisation’s goals, objectives and priorities for
service delivery.

Customers and Stakeholders
“Managing the Highways Network” includes a useful section entitled “The Customers and their
Requirements”. This identified thirteen separate groups of customers, and then went on to
highlight the principal needs for each of these. The full list of identified customers was:
Residents; Retailers; Business Owners; Utilities; Commuters; Business Travellers; pursuing
Leisure and Social Activities; Shoppers on Personal Business; School Children; Tourists;
Freight; Commerce and Strategic Transport; Emergency Vehicles; and Public Transport
Operators. The full list of customer types and their identified requirements are included in
Appendix B to this advice note, but an example of two of these (Business Owners and
Commuters) is given below.

BUSINESS OWNERS
Reliable journeys to work for employees to minimise work time lost. Congestion
free approach routes to aid delivery of supplies and despatch of products.
COMMUTERS
Reliable, comfortable journeys, safe travel, consistent services. Many commuters
will select jobs and houses on the basis of the ease of travel.











5 Customers, Stakeholders and
Authority Objectives
9


Every local highway authority has developed corporate objectives; these are usually written as
high-level and broadly-described statements of intent. These statements have not been drawn
up in a vacuum, but are based on the perceived or actual priorities of the public. It is perhaps
not surprising, given that the priority for users of the highway and for those affected by it are,
generally speaking, fairly similar, that particular themes regularly occur (e.g. in relation to
safety, congestion and the environment). Having said that, many local authorities are likely to
have their own unique problems, which may, for example, include an increasing likelihood of
widespread flooding. In these circumstances, they might require a Level of Service which
makes it clear that the authority would aim to manage, as far as practicable, the increased
likelihood of flooding caused by changes in climate, by seeking to make space for water, or
similar.
To a varying degree, the majority of these high-level statements require progress in highway-
related initiatives in order to drive them forward and provide a successful outcome. Many of
these key highway objectives are included in Local Transport Plans (LTPs) and some group
plans, and clearly contribute to the wider aims of the highway service, and to the authority, as a
whole.
In defining Levels of Service local highway authorities will wish to take a “top-down” approach,
taking authority objectives as a starting point, and consider whether this corporate (authority)
and service (departmental) response fully reflect local, and perhaps wider, customer concerns
and what further information is required to determine this. Many authorities survey customers
regularly to identify those aspects of highway work that are most important to them, and to
determine those areas of work where further improvements can be made. This also provides
important information to prioritise our work and to set targets for improvement. The specific
public priorities for roads and footways, identified through the TRL work (referred to previously)
are also important messages and drivers for improvement. The need to manage safety is, of
course, clearly understood and will already be a well-established priority for local authorities.
Many customers will be well aware of these aspirations, because they are available on local
authority websites, or contained in their reports and publications, which are targeted at the
general public. These particular messages to the public, setting out our broad, longer-term
aspirations, are likely to prompt the response: “Yes, but what does that mean in practical terms
and where are your particular priorities for improvements”? The key is, of course, to provide this
information to them in a series of clear, non-technical statements that are easily understood by
all customers. These should describe, in simple language, the service standards (Levels of
Service) that the authority will maintain, or seek to achieve.
It is suggested that these public-facing statements are written at a level below the broad
authority and service (department) level aspirations, although it is important to be able to
demonstrate the relationship with these. They should not, however, be too detailed in
description, in particular, where levels of service at two levels are provided. In this way, a range
of relevant engineering and detailed performance standards will contribute to achieving each of
these Levels of Service, as can be demonstrated later.
Local authorities may choose to produce their Levels of Service by undertaking a full review of
their existing LTP objectives, and where appropriate, identifying key statements contained in
appropriate group plans. The opportunity should be taken for relevant officers to review these
thoroughly, to ensure that they all fit within corporate aims, and to add any important, missing
areas of work. These statements may then need to be re drafted to provide a clear public-facing
message about the Levels of Service that it is intended to provide. It would then be helpful to
6 Relationship between Levels of
Service and Authority Objectives
10

test and review these with elected members, together, perhaps, with a small focus group of
customers.
The schematic diagram below helps to illustrate the relationship between the broad corporate
and service objectives, the more specific LTP and other identified objectives and the
development of related customer-focussed Levels of Service.

Diagram Showing the Relationship between Levels of Service and Strategic Objectives
There are new requirements for local authorities to develop partnering arrangements. This will
mean that, increasingly, statements of intent will be jointly written and reflect the views and
expectations of all parties. Some corporate statements will need to reflect this.
11


Whilst this advice note is primarily concerned with Levels of Service, it is nonetheless important
to demonstrate the relationship of these with engineering standards. To distinguish between
these and the service standards, reference is made to local authority standards as ‘back office’,
as opposed to the ‘public facing’ Levels of Service. Indeed, it is fair to say that customers will
have much less interest in these back office issues, apart from more contentious areas of work
like visual defects and grass cutting standards. They are simply looking for positive outcomes to
work, particularly in areas of highest priority (referred to previously), and this is, of course,
dependent on giving the right emphasis to particular engineering standards.
Levels of Service, particularly those which are described at a high level, tend to be
‘aspirational’, with little or no reference to cost, resource implications, etc. It is important,
therefore, for officers to demonstrate to their members (and customers) how these translate into
engineering activities. In particular, how risk and resource implications relate to the standards
carried out for each of these activities (referred to as the level of performance of an engineering
standard), and the impact of each of these on the Level of Service. This process will enable
officers and members to carry out better informed option appraisals.
Two examples of quite diverse engineering and routine maintenance standards are:
Inspection and re cutting of damaged drainage grips once per year after winter
Precautionary salting carried out on 40% of the defined salting network

Both of the above examples represent just one operational level for the stated standard,
perhaps where the organisation is currently operating. In the first example, the next level up
might indicate re cutting twice a year, before and after winter.
The standards that apply to engineering and operational activities typically fall within the
headings of: Legal; Economic; and Environmental, and are likely to include the political
dimension, as well. This means, for example, that in order to comply with the duty to keep the
highway safe, certain engineering standards need to be set at, or above, a minimum level to
meet these legal obligations. In a similar way, environmental constraints may, for example, limit
the extent and effectiveness of weed control methods, and will impact on costs. Economic, or
funding, constraints will be considered in more detail below, but clearly, with a budget ‘cake’ of
limited size it is not possible to raise standards to meet public expectations in every area of our
work.
Typically, organisations are guided by Well Maintained Highways and have defined three or four
levels of performance, for a range of engineering standards. The use of four levels provides
more flexibility in demonstrating changes in performance, and for this reason it is the
recommended approach. What has given rise to rather more debate is how these various levels
of engineering performance should be described. Some local authorities have avoided describing
these as: Poor; Average; Good and Excellent, or similar, and instead have simply referred to
them as Level 1, Level 2, etc. There has been similar discussion about whether these
engineering performance levels should refer to the state of the asset, using terminology like:
‘Deteriorating; Steady and Improving’. This approach might be considered somewhat subjective
and misleading, tending to the view that a simple un-emotive description of performance for
various engineering standards is preferable. There is probably no right or wrong answer to this
and it is, therefore, considered to be a matter of individual choice. A small sample of how these
engineering standards might look is set out below.
7 Level of Service and Engineering
Standards
12

The following table includes a sample of a range of options for engineering (operational)
standards for drainage, set at four levels of performance (not described). These are likely to
contribute to a Level of Service concerned with safety.

Flooding Sites.
Limited one-off reactive
response to localised
flooding of highway
through investigation,
and re
cutting/unblocking of
ditches and grips Av 10
sites/annum or 1km
The systematic
identification and
recording of flooding
sites. Programme of
ditch and grip re cutting
and unblocking to
overcome identified
problems. Av 25
sites/annum
The systematic
identification and
recording of flooding
sites. Programme of
ditch and grip re
cutting and unblocking
to overcome identified
problems. Av 50
sites/annum
The systematic
identification of flooding
sites. Programme of ditch
and grip re cutting and
unblocking to overcome
identified problems. Av 75
sites/annum

HA Managed Ditches
Limited reactive cyclic
cutting/clearing of
ditches on classified
network
Programmed cyclic
cutting/clearing of
ditches (length 250km)
on classified network
(average 25km/annum).

Programmed cyclic*
cutting/clearing of
ditches (length
250km) on classified
network (average
35km/annum).
Programmed
cyclic*cutting/clearing of
ditches (length 250 km)
on classified network
(average 50km/annum).
* Weighted to vulnerable
sites
Maintenance of Grips.
No inspection and re
cutting of damaged
grips.
Reactive re cutting of
identified damaged
grips once per year
after winter
Inspection and re
cutting of all
damaged grips once
per year after winter
Inspection and re
cutting of all damaged
grips twice per year
before and after winter.
Ditches as a Hazard.
No programme to
protect pedestrians and
motorists on ditch
sections, which are
identified as being
potentially hazardous.

Limited programme to
protect pedestrians and
motorists on ditch
sections, identified as
being potentially
hazardous. Remedy
through installation of
appropriate verge
markers, barriers or
piping.
2 Sites/annum
Increasing programme
to protect pedestrians
and motorists on ditch
sections, identified as
being potentially
hazardous. Remedy
through installation of
appropriate verge
markers, barriers or
piping.
5 Sites/annum.
Extensive programme to
protect pedestrians and
motorists on ditch
sections, identified as
being potentially
hazardous. Remedy
through installation of
appropriate verge
markers, barriers or
piping.
8 Sites/annum.


Notes:
The standards are included for illustrative purposes and may not represent a realistic
situation.
Shaded standards may represent the current funded performance level for the authority.
It is suggested that all engineering standards (at all performance levels) are evaluated for risk
and cost per annum.
These tables may also indicate the performance level representing the minimum legal requirement.





13

A number of organisations have produced quite comprehensive ranges of engineering
standards. This will be evident from the examples provided in the later section. It is suggested
that, rather than ‘reinventing the wheel’, organisations should use the work of others to build up
a comprehensive schedule, identifying any gaps and sharing information, as necessary. As part
of this exercise, it is important to identify all engineering standards that contribute to each Level
of Service. This is likely to be a more effective exercise when engineering standards are linked
with the more specific lower Levels of Service, although potentially fairly complex. It is also
worth remembering that engineering standards are likely to occur more than once, because
they contribute to more than one Level of Service.
Once a comprehensive schedule of engineering standards has been drawn up, at prescribed
levels of performance, it is then necessary to consider two further aspects: the level of risk and
relative costs. This additional information is important for guiding officers and members when
making decisions about the future direction of individual standards, and in undertaking option
appraisal at a budgetary/ strategic level.
Dealing, first of all, with risk, which is an ever-present consideration within the context of asset
management. It is helpful to be aware of how the level of risk to a local authority may change
with a reduced or improved performance. There is a degree of subjectivity in quantifying the
level of risk, but this can be minimised by auditing, by cross checking between assets and by
using a standardised approach, which takes into account Likelihood and Impact. One local
authority has attempted this and an example is provided as part of Appendix C. It would seem
that there might be scope to attempt some national standardisation of quantified risk for
engineering standards. Some local authorities have elected to provide a description of the
expected risk. It is for each authority to judge whether this is sufficient to consider future options
for standards, or whether the quantified approach provides clearer guidance.
Secondly, it is particularly important to identify an accurate annual cost for all engineering
standards, operating at each of the three or four performance levels. This is not necessarily a
straightforward exercise, particularly where local authorities are operating large management
contracts. It is also difficult to identify costs for some engineering standards, and in some cases
costs can overlap between standards. There is, perhaps, less scope for organisations to
exchange information in this particular area because of contract variations, and regional
differences. Again, a few local authorities have done work in this area and some detail is
included in Appendix C.
One further helpful task is to determine the extent to which each engineering standard
contributes towards the Level of Service. This helps to identify funding priorities. It is clearly not
an exact science, but can be achieved through engineering debate, using an appropriate cross-
section of officers.
Given this level of information, officers are then in a position to guide their members on what
changes are possible within the annual budget (what is affordable) in order to give more
impetus to meeting the agreed Levels of Service. This should give priority to improving those
activities, which are more influential in meeting the Level of Service, where this is affordable.
Clearly, this process will require a degree of compromise. The exercise may also demonstrate
that, in overall terms, the funding ‘cake’ is insufficient and that more money may need to be
targeted at particular areas of our work, in order to properly address particular Levels of
Service.
Again, these preceding paragraphs describe one particular approach. Organisations will be able
to identify variations and improvements. However, whatever method is employed, the important
task is to establish the relationship between these engineering standards and the identified
Levels of Service and to ensure that the two are not confused.
The schematic diagram on the next page shows how Levels of Service and engineering
standards relate to one another.
14


Diagram Showing the Relationship between LoS and Engineering Standards

Notes:
In practice, there are likely to be more engineering standards than those shown that are
contributing to each LoS statement.
Engineering standards will contribute to more than one Level of Service (shown as ‘Statement
a,’ for example, repeating in the above diagram).





Statement A
Statement B
Statement C
Statement D
Statement E
Statement 1
Statement 2
Statement 3
Statement 1
Statement 2
Statement 3
Statement 1
Statement 2
Statement 3
Statement 4
Statement 1
Statement 2
Statement 1
Statement 2
Statement 3
Levels of Service
(Higher Level)
Levels of Service
(Lower Level)
PUBLIC FACING
Statement a
Statement b
Statement c
Statement d
Statement e
Statement f
Statement g
Statement h
Statement j
Statement i
Statement k
Statement l
Statement m
BACK OFFICE
Statements of Engineering
Standards at 3 or 4 Levels
15

It is suggested that a structured approach to developing and implementing Levels of Service be
adopted, and that the process is managed using good project management practices, with
defined budgets, timescales and resource inputs, and a nominated lead or project manager.
The approach needs to be both ‘top down’ (driven by policy) and ‘bottom up’ (based on
objective engineering standards and supporting data, together with perhaps more subjective
customer views and priorities).
A typical, high-level action plan is set out below:
1. A group comprising a cross section of officers is formed to establish high-level, public
facing Levels of Service (Service Standards), drawing from national evidence, as well as
those messages contained in partnering, corporate, service and LTP objectives. Where
there is an existing highway asset management steering group, it may be appropriate to
make use of this group, or it may be necessary to establish an ‘ad-hoc’ group specifically
for this purpose. It is likely that, as well as the main asset owners and those with
responsibility for service delivery, representatives who can provide input on corporate
objectives and on customer requirements will also be represented. It is suggested that
the asset management “champion” chairs this group.
There may be scope to use or adapt certain statements that are already included as part of
corporate or service standards.
2. Drawing from local customer survey work, member input and council policies, which may
already be reflected in some local objectives, consider developing a series of lower level
(also public facing) service levels, which aim to define more specific issues. This may be
a task for particular asset managers or other more specialist officers. It may be helpful to
establish a representative, local customer focus group to help to prioritise these areas.
3. Use these lower level service levels, as well, to distinguish particular roles for parts of the
highway asset, as required. For example, you may wish to aim for Comfortable Journeys
for road users, but would limit this to strategic local authority routes, or the classified
network.
4. Consider how performance at the higher and lower-level service levels will be assessed
and reported, and how standards and improvement targets will be assessed for these.
This may well necessitate the implementation of a framework of more detailed
performance measures and targets implemented.
5. Consider how the “back-office” engineering and operational standards will support
service levels and ensure that they are consistent. It is recommended that organisations
develop the following information about their engineering standards:
Identify the range of engineering standards that are contributing to each identified
(detailed) Level of Service
Discuss and agree the contribution that each makes, expressed in percentage
terms, or perhaps High (H), Medium (M) and Low (L).
Identify the relative cost of changing the performance level for each of these
standards, and
Identify the changing level of quantified risk when changing the performance level
for each standard.

8 Suggested Approach
16

6. Discuss and agree these with a Member’s panel, and where necessary seek formal
approval to their adoption. Mechanisms for testing the appropriateness of the proposed
service levels with residents (through consultation surveys or focus groups or residents
panels, where they are in place) will also be useful in ensuring that the service levels
reflect customer aspirations and priorities.
7. Review these periodically – it is suggested that it would be sensible to do this every two
to three years. Although it is important to have a fair degree of stability with Levels of
Service, public attitudes will change and adjustments may need to be made from time to
time.
This is, of course, one particular approach. Some local authorities are developing this work in a
slightly different way and a few examples of this are included later in this guidance. It is
important to remember, as well, that these are non-engineering, public-facing statements of
outcome that should not to be confused with engineering standards.





17

Once the engineering standards have been agreed, it is then necessary to monitor progress in
moving the service (department) from point A to point B in each case. (i.e. bridging the gap
between current and desired levels of service). Existing, and perhaps newly identified, key and
local performance indicators will help to monitor this progress. Periodically, it will be necessary
for organisations to review progress in moving towards their identified Levels of Service and it
may be necessary to change the emphasis where progress has been limited.
So how would you measure success in this area? Probably this is best illustrated when key
engineering standards are meeting the improved performance targets that have been set, and
by surveying customers to identify improving trends in these particular service areas, as well as
improving customer response and complaint levels.
Levels of Service have a wider role to play. It has been suggested that these represent an
important contract between local authorities and their customers and should be included within
future Local Transport Plans. These, together with the planned improvements to engineering
standards, will play an essential role in developing and taking forward the maintenance strategy
within relevant asset life cycle plans. This, in turn, will help to provide officers and members with
long term works programmes and potential longer term funding requirements for particular
asset types and their related activities.
9 Where does this lead us?
``` 18


A number of local authorities have carried out work on Levels of Service and engineering
standards. Approaches vary and don’t necessarily follow the process identified in this
document. As indicated previously, that is not a major issue, as long as organisations are clear
about, and distinguish between, their public facing and “back office” elements, and provide
robust links between the two.
A brief extract from the work of six local authorities is included in Appendix D. For some of
these extracts a brief synopsis has been added, which comprises:
A short description of the work (based on the limited extract), and
Brief observations on the approach, in each case.
The comments are intended to provide the reader with a general idea of the work that these
authorities have done, and to provide the opportunity to get in touch with the named contact to
discuss this further. The brief observations are certainly not intended to be critical – all these
authorities that have ‘dipped their toes’ into Level of Service waters are to be congratulated!
Thanks are due to the following authorities whose work has been included in this document.
Appendix C represents a fair cross section of approaches and includes authorities that appear
to have done a reasonable amount of work in this area, to date.
Buckinghamshire County Council
Derbyshire County Council
Surrey County Council
London Borough Of Enfield
Transport For London
Westminster City Council
Thanks are also due to the many other organisations that also responded to our questionnaire
and in many cases provided examples of their work. It was not possible to include all of these.

10 Comments on Highway Authority
Work
``` 19


Framework for Highway Asset Management, County Surveyors Society, April 2004.
Code of Practice for the Maintenance of Highway Structures
Managing the Highways Network (ICE 1994)
Identifying and Measuring Efficiency in Local Highways (HELG 2007)
Highway Service Levels (TRL/Ipsos MORI)
Appendix A - References
20

Identified Customer Types and their Requirements
Extract from “Managing the Highway Network” 1994 (Published by ICE)

CUSTOMER GROUPING REQUIREMENTS

Residents

An attractive neighbourhood giving peace
and quiet, inside and outside the house. and
especially at night, easy access to green
space; good air quality; freedom from worry
about the safety of children and pets; good
access to amenities and shops, and perhaps
somewhere to park a car.

Retailers
Easy access for customers, by all modes of
transport and possibly parking outside shops;
access for delivery vans/lorries. Attractive
surrounds to encourage shoppers.

Business Owners
Reliable journeys to work for employees to
minimise work time lost. Congestion free
approach routes to aid delivery of supplies
and despatch of products.

Utilities
Rapid, economical and convenient access to
area below road for maintenance of existing
and laying of new services, such as gas and
electricity, water and sewerage, telephone,
TV and data cables.

Commuters
Reliable, comfortable journeys; safe travel;
consistent service. Many commuters will
select jobs and houses on the basis of the
ease of travel.

Business Travellers
Efficient, safe journeys; predictable journey
times; quality travel information systems and
good parking facilities.

Appendix B – Customer Types and
their Requirements
21


Leisure & Social Activities

Enjoyable, safe travel, good security, easy
route planning.


Shoppers on Personal Business

Quick access to facilities such as shops and
hospitals, not only in working hours, but at
weekends, and in the evenings; wide range
of shops, and essential services nearby;
assistance with heavy loads; attractive and
safe environment in which to shop.

School Children
Safe journey to and from school, free from
road risks, safe from other people.

Tourists
Quick, safe journeys to and from sites; peace
and quiet; clear and consistent signing.

Freight, Commerce & Strategic Transport
Predictable and optimum journey times;
comprehensive and accurate direction
signing; facilities for lorries; reasonable
average speeds.

Emergency Vehicles
Guaranteed minimum access times and
freedom from congestion.

Public Transport Operators
Freedom from congestion; access to town
centres.
In each of these identified categories is the
full range of people – young and old, rich and
poor, people with a mobility handicap, car
owners, non car owners, cyclists,
pedestrians, and so on, and a full range of
choices of modes of transport.

22

Matrix A Code of Practice Themes / Broad Engineering Standards
Extract from Efficiency Toolkit for local highways and Transportation October 2008 V2
(Published by Highway / Liaison Group)
Highway Performance Measurement Matrix A
Local Transport Plans, Highways Agency Business Plan,
Transport Asset Management Plan
Operate Maintain Improve
Traffic Management Plan
Network Management
Plan/Manual Traffic
Operator

Highway
Maintenance
Plan

Capital Improvement
Programme
O
b
j
e
c
t
i
v
e
s

C
u
s
t
o
m
e
r

S
e
r
v
i
c
e

Customer
Satisfaction
User satisfaction
Overall
Transport
Service

Independent audit of services
Responding
to enquiries
Effectiveness of customer response

S
a
f
e
t
y


Ensuring
Safety
Safety inspections.
3
rd
Party Claims.
Accidents and incidents on the network.
S
e
r
v
i
c
e
a
b
i
l
i
t
y

/

J
o
u
r
n
e
y

T
i
m
e

R
e
l
i
a
b
i
l
i
t
y

Ensuring
availability
Road user network
availability
Effectiveness of response
to emergency incidents
Impact of scheme
on availability of
road
Predictability of
times to deliver
schemes
Achieving
integration
Balance of facilities for
different users
Impact of scheme
on integration of
transport modes
Maintaining
reliability
Journey time reliability
for different users
Peak period traffic flows

Maintaining
Highway
Condition
Condition of
various types of
asset

S
u
s
t
a
i
n
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
/

R
e
s
p
e
c
t
i
n
g

t
h
e

E
n
v
i
r
o
n
m
e
n
t

Minimising
costs over
time
Reactive
maintenance
costs.
Whole Life
costing principles
Cost predictability
for delivery of
schemes.
Work defects
Maximising
environment
al
contribution
Recycled material
used for
maintenance.
Inspection of
amenities
Recycled material
used in schemes.
Air pollution levels.
Maximising
value to
community
Quality of Life, e.g. social inclusion, regeneration, street scene
and community safety.
Appendix C – Code of Practice
Themes
23

Matrix B Code of Practice Themes/Performance Indicators
Extract from Efficiency Toolkit for local highways and Transportation October 2008 V2
(Published by Highway / Liaison Group)
Highway Performance Measurement Matrix B
Local Transport Plans, Highways Agency Business Plan,
Transport Asset Management Plan
Operate Maintain Improve
Traffic Management Plan
Network Management
Plan/Manual Traffic
Operator
Highway
Maintenance
Plan
Capital Improvement
Programme
O
b
j
e
c
t
i
v
e
s

C
u
s
t
o
m
e
r

S
e
r
v
i
c
e

Customer
Satisfaction
CS 1 CS 2
HA Customer Satisfaction
Overall
Transport
Service
LTP / APR Score
Responding
to enquiries
CS 3
API 3
S
a
f
e
t
y

Ensuring
Safety
NI 47 NI 48
SA 1 SA 2 SA 3 SA 4
HA Safety Measures
API 2 API 11
S
e
r
v
i
c
e
a
b
i
l
i
t
y

/

J
o
u
r
n
e
y

T
i
m
e

R
e
l
i
a
b
i
l
i
t
y


Ensuring
availability
BV 100 BV 178
API 1 API 13
SE 2
API 9
B2
API 6
Achieving
integration
NI 176 NI 198
BV 165


Maintaining
reliability
NI 167 NI 178
HA Congestion
Measures

SE 5 SE 6 B3
Maintaining
Highway
Condition
NI 168 NI 169
BV 187 BV 215
BV 224b SE11
L(a) L(b) L(c)
L(d)
B1 B4
API 12 API 14

S
u
s
t
a
i
n
a
b
i
l
i
t
y
/

R
e
s
p
e
c
t
i
n
g

t
h
e

E
n
v
i
r
o
n
m
e
n
t

Minimising
costs over
time
SU 1 SU 2
SU 3
SU 4
API 7 API 10
Maximising
environmental
contribution
NI 186 NI 195
SU 6 SU 7
API 4
API 15
Maximising
value to
community
SU 5
Quality of Life Indicators
Note: LTP/APR score not used in 2006/07
24


Examples of Highway Authority Work on Levels of Service
The following pages include a cross section of LoS work. Each entry contains a short extract of the
material supplied to the CSS/TAG Task Group and a contact name, as well as a brief synopsis of each
example, which comprises:
An itemised description, and
Brief observations, providing advice and suggestions for further development

Derbyshire County Council
(Contact: Steve Mead. Email:steve.mead@Derbyshire.gov.uk)
Levels of service delivery
Excellent
Signs that:
give effect to an order that is in place to prevent danger to road users
discourage a manoeuvre that would present a danger to other road users
warn of a potentially dangerous situation.

Good
Signs that:
support an order that is in place to prevent danger to road users
give effect to an order that is in place to prevent the obstruction of the highway
discourage a manoeuvre that would impede the free flow of traffic

Fair
Signs that:
• carry no statutory or safety function, but give better definition to the road layout or provide
additional information to back up the existing road layout.
Sign types generally fall into the following levels of service categories:
Principal B C UC
Direction sign E G G F
Regulatory sign E E G G
Warning sign E E E E
Timeplate G G F F
Tourist & Other
Information Signs
G F F F
Rural Finger Posts F F F F
Appendix D – Examples of Highway
Authority Work
25




Interventions
There are a limited number of interventions for traffic signs which will be dictated by a combination of
the required level of service, the sign category and the extent of the defect. All interventions attempt to
reduce the impact of dirt and weather ingress on the sign, but can never fully restore the sign to its
new state.
Clean sign face
A routine 2-yearly cleaning of the sign face that slows down the rate of dirt and weather ingress and
maintains the optimum sign visibility.
Remove offending vegetation
If vegetation is regularly causing visibility problems for the sign or creating additional dirt on the sign
the removal or cutting back of any offending vegetation can maintain the optimum visibility of the sign
and achieve the best results from the routine face cleaning.
Relocate sign
If the sign is susceptible to regular strikes, or is identified as not at its optimum visibility, either by
public complaints or as a result of inspections.
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
C
o
n
d
i
t
i
o
n
(
%

o
f

n
e
w
)
Age (years)
Sign wear with and without 2 yearly cleaning interventions
Sign wear under normal conditions
Sign wear with 2 yearly cleaning intervention
p
o
o
r
end of life
e
x
c
e
l
l
e
n
t
g
o
o
d
f
a
i
r
L
e
v
e
l
s

o
f

S
e
r
v
i
c
e
2 year ly cleaning interventions
Maximum gains for 2 yearly cleaning interventions
and ideal timeframe for replacement

26

Intervention frequencies for wear conditions / levels of service combinations
Excellent Good Fair Poor
Severe Wear 7 years 10 years 12 years 14 years
Normal Wear 11 years 14 years 18 years 24 years
2 yr clean prog. 15 years 19 years 23 years 26 years

Brief Synopsis on Derbyshire CC Approach

Description
Drawing up life cycle plans, which include reference to Levels of Service
(LoS) (seem to refer to the LoS as “operations level” in this context)
Refer to LoS as being appropriate to the asset and it’s position in the road
hierarchy
Provided two extracts from the life cycle plan for signs and road markings,
which include LoS work. Progressing with other aspects.
LoS defined as “Excellent” “Good” and “Fair” (all defined) and for signs are
applied to sign types and road classes in matrix form
Provide Interventions (performance levels for standards?) for sign face
replacement (?) for the three LoS (plus “Poor”?) with severe and normal
wear, as well as with a two year cleaning programme, all within a simple
matrix
For road markings, “Excellent”, “Good” and “Fair” LoS (defined) are applied to
the function of the lining (e.g. Stop lines, Give Way, yellow lining, etc). These
are also referenced with the TSRGD diagram number.
A matrix provides the function (above), the LoS and road classification and
the expected life of the lining for each of these circumstances (i.e. short,
medium and long).
The life cycle plan also includes interventions (operational standards) for
each of two situations: high wear and low wear conditions and for high
durability markings, where these are selected. For each of these,
intervention frequencies are set at regular intervals to achieve the excellent,
good, fair and poor standards so that, for example, excellent is maintained at
approximately 90% of new and fair at about 65% of new.
Observations
In the context of this guidance note, LoS are engineering standards (at
various performance levels), which would contribute to more general public
inspired LoS. Nonetheless, the work is very useful, with simple adaptation,
as required.
Have recognised the valid link between life cycle plans and LoS, although
some authorities may wish to keep these separate. This means that the
selected LoS (or operational engineering standard) drives the annual and
longer-term strategy, as well as the works programme, and associated
funding requirements.
Appear to refer to the LoS as relating to both the individual asset types and to
their position in the road hierarchy, which is the correct approach, although
this might, more appropriately, be referred to as their role.
There appears to be no real evidence of customer input into LoS. In the case
of road markings, for example, there may be a strong emphasis on safety and
perhaps this might have influenced the setting of levels of service for particular
functions, e.g. edge marking on certain rural roads. It is accepted,
nonetheless, that, in many cases, levels of service are dictated by legal and
engineering constraints.
27


Buckinghamshire County Council
(Contact: Sean Rooney. Email: srooney@buckscc.gov.uk)
Our level of service (LoS) Matrix
Overview
The Level of Service (LoS) framework or matrix has been designed as part of the ongoing
development of our TAMP. It is intended for use across the service to identify the different
opportunities to promote varying levels of service.
The LoS matrix should therefore be seen as a tool to evaluate differing levels of service (or service
options) across the varied assets within the service and give an objective assessment along with the
risks associated with them. It is envisaged that the matrix can go a long way towards providing a more
objective evaluation process of target setting than that which currently exists.
Note: It is not intended that the matrix produces an ultimate (or “black box” type) solution on where we
should prioritise investment in the transportation service, but is a valuable tool that provides a
consistent framework for the determination and evaluation of different service options by each “asset
owner”. This in turn will enable better informed decisions to be made by the appropriate management
teams and or council members.

Fig 3.2 Level of Service (LoS) Matrix:















The matrix has been designed to encompass the 5 key strategic themes as defined in
Buckinghamshire County Council’s second Local Transport Plan (LTP2), which consists of:
Accessibility
Congestion
Environment
Safety
Maintaining & Managing the Asset
Asset Group Date Prepared
Asset Owner
Over-arching
Council goals &
objectives
Output / Outcomes Benchmark Figure
(i.e. from LTP2) Customer focus Technical focus (Exist LoS)
Target Cost Target Cost Target Cost
1 2 4 6
Promote Social
Inclusion by
improving
access
Net satisfaction as
measured through
Highway
maintenance survey
38.6 20 38.6 65
Failure to maintain highway safety, third party
claims, failure to meet service standard,
customer satisfaction rating.
BV187 24% 30% 25% 20%
Schemes incl. cycle / walking
initiatives
Measured by % of
schemes etc
0
5% ( to be
same as
BM figure)
80%
Fall in customer satisfaction. Loss of
reputation of service follwing increased
awareness of cycling and walking through
"cycle Aylesbury"
Footway improvements
% of F/Ws where
improvements are made
5% 10% 15%
Long term impact of required expenditure in
the future.
A65 Increase funding for
resurfacing footways in
Prestige Walking Zones, and
on Primary and Secondary
Walking Routes
Protect
Steady State
Improve
(Desired / Opt.)
Risk
Minimum
(Statutiry Req.)
Measure of Level Asset Service Options
Sub-section (LTP2 Theme etc)
Carriageways and Footways
Asset Management
16-Nov-06
5 3

28


Within these 5 key themes, there are numerous over-arching goals and objectives that define council
policy in this area. To determine the level of service required against each of these objectives, “asset
owners” should firstly attempt to populate the matrix with the key outcomes / outputs that deliver
against these objectives and align to their current business or service plans.
In order that we do not try to re-invent the wheel, it is suggested that the outcomes / outputs selected
are linked to those targets that are either currently monitored through the TRANstat process or those
Action Plans arising from LTP2 process, or a combination of both.
Note: What should also be considered on the wider stage of the matrix, is that there will be a cross
fertilisation of outcomes / outputs between various service areas, and that the levels of service for
these particular areas should not contradict but rather enhance the arguments for the provision of a
particular levels of service.
The matrix has been designed to address the development of levels of service from both a customer
and technical perspective and therefore separate sections exist for each of these. There will inevitably
be some instances where outcomes / outputs will fall into one or both of these categories.
Development of Asset Service Levels (or Options) is an integral part of the LoS matrix. In this section
asset owner’s can determine the appropriate levels of service (or option) for each specific outcome, set
corresponding targets and begin to evaluate these options by quantifying the costs and risks
associated with delivering each of these options.
Note: The actual levels of service should be closely aligned to the ethos of corporate strategy, i.e. have
levels showing low priority areas, areas to maintain steady state and those areas in need of
improvement.
Therefore the generic Service Options to be considered by asset owners are:
Minimum (Minimum LoS based on Statutory requirements)
Protect (Steady State, i.e. maintaining current condition / performance)
Improve (Desired or Optimum LoS)

Risks associated with providing a particular level of service should also be considered. This level of
risk or description can be aligned to the corporate risk strategy, (see chapter on risk).

In summary, it is intended that the LoS matrix is used to determine appropriate levels of service (or
service options) for each significant transport asset. This process should provide a “menu” of detailed
service level options across the service that could be used to “pick and mix” a variety of options for
consideration in the development of works programmes and strategic direction, dependant upon the
levels of funding available and the associated levels of risk.










29




Brief Synopsis of Bucks CC Approach


Description
Described as a tool to evaluate differing Levels of Service for various
assets and associated risks. Standard matrix is provided for individual
asset owners to complete
Bucks CC officers do not see this process as the ultimate solution on
where future highway investments should be made
The “Level of Service” matrix is driven by BCC’s five key LTP themes
(e.g. managing the asset) and the identification of various goals and
objectives within these themes
Individual asset owners are then required to populate the matrix with
key outcomes, which contribute to the objectives and outcomes
Asset owners are also required to set up asset service options which
relate to: a) to customer focus and b) technical focus. These are set at
Minimum (Statutory Requirements), Protect (maintain current
condition) and Improve
Matrix also includes the existing situation or benchmark figure and a
general description of risk
Observations
Fully geared towards the BCC LTP and this, not unreasonably, is likely
to be a fairly common approach. These are about broad authority
goals and should reflect customer concerns. However, is this
sufficient, or should more specific customer Levels of Service be taken
into account as well, i.e. their priority for safe and comfortable road
surfaces (TRL Report). In which case, would the performance
standards, which will be either “Protected” or “Improved” really address
the customer-identified priorities for Levels of Service?
Are BCC ‘s Asset Service options actually Levels of Service or more
realistically performance standards?
The “Customer Focus” example provided seems to be based on a
survey and is therefore a response to HA actions, rather than designed
to set its priorities
Refers to asset owners determining appropriate Levels of Service
(performance standards?) for each outcome, setting targets and
quantifying costs and risk. Should these be determined before
deciding the target performance standard necessary to meet customer
priorities?
Not sure to what extent BCC expects asset owners to cost the various
performance standards and therefore the change in moving from one
to the other, and similarly for risk
What is the relative contribution of each – would you get better, quicker
returns funding one area rather than another?
Should there be a standard, evaluated approach to determining risk
(and changes to risk associated with reduced or improved standards),
rather than individuals determining their own? Less able to make
judgements about funding across assets.
Generally, quite well developed, giving the opportunity for more
detailed observations
30



Surrey County Council
(Contact: Richard Ireland. Email: Richard.ireland@surreycc.gov.uk)

Surrey County Council has concentrated on developing a range of engineering standards (back office
work). They have also identified and highlighted the current level of performance and attached a
quantified risk to each standard. Risks have been applied to all engineering standards and
crosschecked to ensure compatibility. They are currently developing annual costs for each of these
standards.
The extract on the following page shows a range of standards relating to Safety and includes both the
attached level of risk and annual cost in each case (guideline in some cases).
Future work will include the development of agreed Levels of Service (the extract includes a nominal
reference to Safety for clarification), and a full review of these standards with Members to ensure that
these are at the correct affordable level to be most effective in meeting the agreed Levels of Service.
Some of this work will be included in relevant life cycle plans and will be instrumental in developing
future work programmes and budgetary requirements.

31


32




33

Brief Synopsis of the Surrey County Council Approach


Description
Covers all asset types and, more specifically, the majority of functions relating to
these.
Drawn up in the form of a schedule, this work contains engineering standards at
each of four levels: minimum safety; fair; good; and excellent standards.
Engineering standards are grouped in relation to a number of draft (at this stage)
levels of service.
These schedules also include an indication of the operational standard currently
operated by the authority and an indication of the “ direction of travel”, i.e. static,
moving up or down (not shown).
A separate schedule is available, which shows a risk rating for each operational
standard.
Some limited work has been done in costing a number of these standards.
Initial work has also been done in linking the proportional contribution of each of
the standards to the LoS.
Observations
Fairly detailed and time-consuming to develop.
Potential for duplication with some standards because they appear under more
than one theme, making the costing exercise difficult.
A clear, simple risk approach does make it easy for officers and Members to
consider the implications of funding changes. However, the risks are subjective
and may not be fully consistent.
Similarly, once complete, the change in cost for operational standards can be
taken into account when considering the implications of moving to new
operational standards in response to agreed Levels of Service.
Beginning to establish links between Levels of Service and operational standards.
No linked performance monitoring, as yet, but this would follow the completion of
other work.




34

Transport for London
Contact: Les Hawker, EMail: Les.Hawker@tfl.gov.uk

Case Study for CSS Guidance Note (H.Rakoff 16.09.2008)

Building from publication of its first Highway Asset Management Plan (HAMP) in September
2007, Transport for London (TfL) is currently conducting stated preference (SP) research to
gauge public priorities for maintenance of the highways. TfL will use this to create customer-
focused levels of service for carriageways and footways.
The SP research, which to our knowledge is the first stated preference survey of priorities for
highway condition among general users undertaken by a local highway authority within the UK,
will ask respondents to indicate their preference for sets of condition attributes at different levels
and in different combinations. The comparisons will be based on sets of photographs. For
instance, a respondent for footways may be asked to choose between Option A (showing an
uncracked, flat surface; raised ironwork; small potholes; and a good undeteriorated surface)
and Option B (showing, perhaps, worse cracking but flush ironwork). After respondents have
chosen A or B for a series of different combinations of options, it will be possible to determine
the relative utility they place on improvement of each aspect of condition (cracking, unevenness
of ironwork, potholes, etc.) Questions will also determine how acceptable various levels of each
defect are.
The aspects of condition to be included, as well as the language to be used in describing them,
were informed by 25 accompanied journeys/in-depth interviews with members of the public
recruited on-street. For the main SP research, 1140 respondents will be recruited on-street for
four main modes: pedestrians (for footways), and cyclists, powered-two-wheeler users, and
drivers (for carriageway). The driver mode will include a mix of car drivers, light goods vehicle
drivers, heavy goods vehicle drivers, black cab drivers, and private hire (e.g. minicab) drivers.
In the first instance the relative utilities placed by customers on remediation of various surface
condition defects will be incorporated into our model for prioritisation of capital schemes
(affecting a budget of about £20M per year). Scoring of schemes has heretofore been based on
engineering indicators (DVI and SCANNER) and associated measures of whole life economy
(costs of other options which involve more revenue maintenance, risk, indirect costs of delays,
etc.) The results of the stated preference work will allow us to add another component to the
model in which some ‘points’ will also be allocated based on the extent to which a scheme
addresses the type of defect(s) which the public have indicated to be highest priority.
The SP study also includes some higher-level trade-offs which may be used to allocate budgets
at a higher level. These are between existing carriageway or footway condition and the
disruption associated with roadworks, as well as between surface condition and wider aspects
of highway maintenance including drainage, lighting, and litter and encroaching vegetation on
the footway.
Depending on the results of the research, it may also affect the balance between funding for
like-for-like renewal and improvement projects. For instance, if cracking of pavement blocks is
revealed to be a high customer priority for remediation, TfL would focus on changing the street
layout to reduce vehicle over-running of the pavement (by, for instance, installing bollards). In
this case an increased prioritisation of areas with cracked flags for simple re-laying is not likely
to solve the problem long-term as they are likely just to be over-run again shortly.
When the SP study is completed this autumn (2008), TfL will have a good idea of the relative
priorities that customers place on repair of various defects. However, the next challenge is to
assign relative weightings within the capital scheme prioritisation process to customer priorities
vs engineering indicators/whole life cost issues. Although recent national research (such as
work conducted by TRL on behalf of DfT) suggests that areas identified as in need of attention

35

by highway condition engineering indicators may not strongly correlate with where members of
the public see problems now, DVI and SCANNER are probably more reliable than customer
perception in identifying areas for which the costs of work are likely to escalate in future years
as more major interventions will be needed. For this reason both customer priority and
engineering indicators (as well as, of course, practical and logistical concerns relating to
coordination and disruption) have an important role to play in selection and programming of
capital schemes. The allotment of the maximum number of ‘points’ available to each ‘side’ of
the model - i.e., weighting between the two - is further complicated by the interdependency of
surface capital renewal budgets and various improvement and revenue budgets, as the balance
among these may be affected by the SP results as explained above.

Observations on the work so far:
Achievements
• the SP study described is the first of its kind in the UK
• the work will for the first time allow a local highway authority to make quantitative
arguments about the value of various renewals for customers
• the results will show priorities of the four main modes on a uniform scale, revealing to
what extent different users have different priorities
• the results will allow senior managers to make better informed decisions about allocation
of budgets at a high level
• the work will allow TfL to be responsive to its customers – to create public-facing
statements of levels of service which are focused on what the public has requested
Remaining challenges
• weighting between customer priorities and engineering indicators/whole life cost
concerns within the process for prioritising capital renewal schemes remains to be set
• the balance between potentially different priorities of different user groups may also need
to be addressed (but for the first time there will be a clear indication of whether or not this
is a significant issue)
• in order to rate potential capital schemes by how well they address priority defects,
additional data about locations of defects as viewed by a customer, rather than as
defined within UKPMS, may be required to be collected. Another way to look at this,
however, is that the SP results will allow TfL to focus its ancillary data collection activities
more efficiently.

36

London Borough of Enfield

Contact: Trevor King, E Mail: Trevor.King@Enfield.gov.uk








37











38



39

Westminster City Council

Contact: David Yeoell, E Mail: David.Yeoell@Westminster.gov.uk



40



41



42




43