Are journey time solutions the key to eradicating roadworker abuse?

Roadworker abuse – it’s a hot topic. There have been many shocking videos across social media over the last few years showing innocent members of our peer groups being abused and tormented in their workplaces for no other reason than simply doing their job.

But, how do we stop it?

Without a straightforward fix, could we look to some of the innovative products and solutions available within our industry to play an increasing role lifting the burden on our roadworkers? Here, we explore one such solution from leading VMS and ITS solutions provider, MVIS.

Created in partnership with Highways England (HE), MVIS’ NTIS DATEX II Portable Journey Time Solution generates real-time journey time information for road users using data from the National Traffic Information Service (NTIS). Pioneered by MVIS, the system was the first such solution to enable real-time journey time information from the NTIS to be displayed on portable variable message signs (VMS).

The solution has a number of Key technical features which include messages in either amber or white, a five-minute refresh rate, manually set thresholds for minimum and maximum journey time of any route and more.


The real genius.

Typically, anyone asked would say that they dislike traffic or that they hate congestion, but what we as humans really dislike is the anxiety and uncertainty of not knowing how long the traffic will affect us for.

It isn’t necessarily the situation we find ourselves in, but the amount of anxiety and uncertainty that is caused from being in it that is problem number one.

Ask yourself, within reason, would you rather wait for 20 minutes knowing the specific length of the wait from the outset, or have a 15-minute wait with absolutely no clue when it will end? London underground station display boards, or the Uber map feature are two fantastic examples of knowing exactly how long a wait will be resulting in easing the anxiety of a journey beyond measure.

The MVIS NTIS DATEX II Portable Journey Time Solution is not in itself a product that reduces wait time. It can’t get you from A to B any faster. However, whilst it does not reduce wait time, it does make waiting much less frustrating and uncertain.

  


Roadworker abuse – a helping hand?

For the road user, the NTIS DATEX II Portable Journey Time Solution provides a significant reduction in the uncertainty caused by congestion. By displaying information refreshed every five minutes it delivers accurate, up to date, ever changing information. Whether a travelling professional or commuting with children, reducing the unknowns of what’s to come is absolutely vital to road user temperament and satisfaction.

For the road worker, a reduction in road user anxiety, frustration and potential aggression is invaluable. As a country with a serious problem when it comes to road-worker abuse, any solution that can alleviate some of the abhorrent acts and unreasonable language directed towards those working hard to keep Britain moving is a solution we need. A solution far more valuable than its primary purpose – something that fits with the MVIS ‘VMSo Much More’ attitude. Helping to eradicate Roadworker Abuse

MVIS Sales Director, Graeme Lee told us:

“Whilst we’re extremely proud of the quality of the NTIS DATEX II Portable Journey Time Solution and the technology behind it, that’s not where the stakeholder benefit stops. Information delivery and the efficiency of it is undoubtedly an important factor – but what that information actually achieves and how that information makes road users feel is the knock-on effect that isn’t discussed enough. If feeling valued and informed means driver temperament is more subdued, that’s only a good thing for the safety and happiness of the ladies and gentlemen who go to work day and night on our roads.”

 

 


Alleviating Anxiety on our Roads

In today’s fast-paced world, the daily commute or road journey can be a significant source of stress, tension, and anxiety for many individuals.

The uncertainty of traffic conditions, roadworks, and unexpected delays can trigger worry and frustration, affecting our mental well-being. However, there is a solution that not only provides essential information but also helps alleviate anxiety and reduce stress levels: variable message signs (VMS).

Our portable signs displaying real-time information on road conditions and journey times have a surprising impact on the mental strain experienced by road users. In this blog, we will explore how VMS can benefit mental health by reducing stress, tension, frustration, and worry, and how they contribute to a more positive and anxiety-free driving experience.

 

The Detrimental Effects of Stress and Worry

Stress and worry take a toll on our mental and physical health. The constant anticipation of traffic congestion, unexpected roadworks, or delays can create a sense of helplessness and exacerbate anxiety. Studies have shown that chronic stress contributes to a range of health issues, including high blood pressure, insomnia, reduced cognitive function, and even depression. Therefore, finding effective ways to minimise stress and worry during road journeys is crucial for promoting mental well-being.


Stress-Relief: Real Time Information

Variable message signs play a vital role in reducing anxiety by providing road users with up-to-date, real-time information. These signs display essential details regarding road conditions, alternate routes, and expected journey times, allowing drivers to make informed decisions and plan their journeys more effectively. By knowing what lies ahead, road users can mentally prepare for potential delays, reducing the element of surprise and the resulting stress.


Alleviating Anxiety

The fear of the unknown is a common source of anxiety, and this applies to road users as well. The ‘what ifs’ that accompany a journey can cause significant stress and worry. However, VMS products provide a solution to this problem. By displaying vital information these signs address the uncertainty that often plagues drivers. They act as a reassuring guide, eliminating the need to imagine worst-case scenarios and allowing road users to focus on the present moment.


Reducing Frustration

Delays and unexpected road incidents can quickly lead to frustration and tension. Traffic congestion, detours, or unclear directions can trigger emotions that are detrimental to mental health. Variable message signs mitigate these negative emotions by keeping drivers informed and aware of the situation at hand. By providing accurate and timely updates, VMS help drivers anticipate and understand the causes of delays.

One major additional benefit is the one our roadworkers can experience. A calmer driver is less likely to subject roadworkers to a torrent of abuse – something roadworkers sadly face on an increasing basis.

“There are some really important elements to portable VMS that we believe are overlooked.” Said MVIS Sales Director Graeme Lee.

“In a world where stresses are high enough, we don’t want a road network filled with anxious, angry drivers -it isn’t good for anyone. Journey time information is so important to drivers and enables them to adapt as they travel. With the common integration of Bluetooth into cars now for telephone use, an informed driver can keep in touch if required to advise of any changes to their journey and subsequently, their plans.”


MVIS Go Back to School as Part of Manchester Week.

As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, we are only too happy to get out into communities and not only educate young people on what we do on a daily basis but also give advice and information on careers available upon leaving school and college.

Our latest visit took us to The East Manchester Academy. The school is an age 11-16 High School, located in the heart of East Manchester’s regeneration area in Beswick and is a member of the Greater Manchester Education Trust. We spoke to a year 8 class about career paths and to give them a brief lesson in programming messages to display on our VMS via our web-based editing platform Web Studio.

Group Commercial & Operations Director, Anne Ashman & Marketing Manager Ben Kettell spent the afternoon giving the pupils an insight into how MVIS has grown since 2011 and also how their varied careers paths have brought them to this point.  Both Anne & Ben fielded questions from the group regarding all sorts of queries including salary expectations, day-to-day challenges, and the best route to go down in order to get into the industry.

It was then the students turn to programme their very own messages to be displayed on MVIS VMS-A positioned outside the school. Children learnt about just a few of the features a VMS-A has to offer including the 5 LED colour options and also getting to grips with the ability to resize their message depending on character size and length. They also turned their hand to creating their own imagery and pictograms to display, with some fantastic results.

Molly Reeve Year 8 Teacher said “It was great to host MVIS Ltd as part of TEMA’s Manchester week celebrations. Students were thoroughly engaged in the Q&A with Ben and Anne, and they loved the opportunity to try a design task for themselves and then to see their work displayed on a sign.”

Anne added: “It’s always nice to get out in the community, speak to students and help them get a better understanding of what MVIS signs do and how they work. Lots of the students that we spoke to had seen the MVIS signs before in and around the Etihad Stadium next to the school, so next time they see them, they will have a much better understanding of how the message has got there and the work that goes into it”.


VMS-A vs VMS-C

Our Variable Message Signs are manufactured with the sole purpose of getting your message across. Both the VMS-A and the VMS-C display full graphics and pictograms and are perfect for a plethora of uses.

But which Variable Message Sign is better for you?

Manufactured in house at MVIS, the VMS-A is perfect for urban settings and road works with speed zones of up to 50MPH.

Used as a stand-alone temporary VMS it can be paired with a radar to detect traffic and display messages such as, ‘Slow Down’ or ‘Too fast’.

The VMS-A’s compact size and adjustable legs means it has a smaller footprint. So, it won’t take up as much room, and as a result is reliable under all conditions.

Although similar in function the VMS-C is bigger and made for all roads with speeds over 60mph. Its adjustable legs give the sign the ability to become more stable while expanding its surface area.

Customers can program the sign remotely using a simple SMS, direct serial connection, or  our live web-based interface, changing messages on the VMS from the comfort of the office.

Pictures of the VMS-A and VMS-C, MVIS two types of VMS.

A LED Sign from MVIS will always be the most reliable way to get your message across, with our Platinum Level Service and our advice on the Intelligent Transport Solution that Is perfect for you.


MVIS hits the road!

A member of our Customer Relations team, Clair Tranter, recently visited site long with Delivery Driver, Liam Griffiths, as a part of an initiative to teach our Customer Relations Team how we operate when on our deliveries are out on site.

A deeper understanding into the delivery process means that our customer relations team will be able to understand and deal with more requests from customers more competently. They will have a deeper knowledge of how the VMS are delivered and will be able to talk through the process of delivery with a customer.

This is an initiative where office-based members of staff will be joining the delivery team on deliveries.

All to give staff a deeper understanding of what each other do daily when they enter the office.

Clair stated: “It is an eye opener to the role that the drivers play to delivering our platinum level service.

It was also interesting to see the amount of health and safety that is required to deliver to locations such as a retail park.

It was humbling to receive good feedback from the team at Bolton saying, ‘that our team was professional and always work hard.

Over the next few weeks office staff will be joining workshop staff and delivery drivers to see how they work and understand their importance in the company.


MVIS’ Desert Island Favourites!

The ‘Journey to Wellbeing’ is an initiative started by the team at National Highways to initiate conversations between staff and improve the mental health of people in our sector.

Last month the team at MVIS took part in ‘Time to Talk Day’. We gathered in the main office to talk to one another about the impacts of mental health and point our staff in the direction of our 3 mental health first aiders.

Anne Ashman, Jon Larkins, and Rebecca Prince, our in-house team of experts, all agreed that it’s a good idea to partake in these practices so we can all stay alert and aware of who our staff can talk to receive to mental health advice.

This Month the team took part in ‘Desert Island Favourites’, a quiz show dedicated to being true to yourself and being honest about your interests.

Each member of staff told us their favourite film, song and a luxury item they would take to a desert island. We then compiled them into a quiz of which our staff had to guess whose chose what.

This was an excellent attempt to get the staff at MVIS talking to each other, the idea being that if you have a film or song option that another person may share it is suggested a staff member should talk about this and share the experience together.

Taking part in the ‘Journey to Wellbeing’ has been a good investment of MVIS time we have found that it does build morale to change the workflow of a day and keeps staff excited and revitalised.

Juliette Wright, our Customer Relations Officer, said: So many undiscovered minds in one workplace. It appears we know some of the team so well, and others unleased answers we were not expecting!  

Luxury products were my favourite answers, a net filled with footballs! Genius, you can catch fish with the net or use the two as a type of float to get off the island!


New Marketing Manager Welcomed by MVIS

As a small team, it is always sad when a member of staff departs but with a new employee comes new skills and fresh ideas. Last week, we celebrated our 10th anniversary and also a new face in our in-house Marketing Department.

We’re delighted to announce that Ben Kettell has joined us as our new Marketing Manager. Ben is an experienced marketeer and Marketing Manager in addition to having expert skills in graphic design. He will be working alongside Alex Handley, our Marketing Executive who has recently been promoted from Marketing Assistant and Ben Ashman, our Data Assistant. Together, they will continue to grow and improve our marketing channels. 

Prior to working in the hospitality industry as Marketing Manager for two of Derby’s most established businesses, Ben has worked in marketing for a number of respectable B2B and B2C companies in the travel and retail industry. 

Ben is now in his second week at MVIS and is starting to get to grips with an exciting new industry and our wide range of products and solutions. Outside of work, Ben is a passionate Derby County supporter and regularly attends home and away matches. 

Ben Kettell comments, “I am delighted to join the MVIS team. Their enthusiasm for their work and expertise is unrivalled I can’t wait to get stuck in. I look forward to sharing ideas and working with the entire workforce to grow MVIS in new and exciting sectors along with building on the strong foundations already in place.”  

Anne Ashman, UK Group Commercial and Operations Director comments, “Ben really impressed us in the interview process and I have no doubt that he will be a great addition to our Marketing Department and the MVIS team. He brings with him a solid set of marketing and creative skills that will help to expand and improve our current marketing infrastructure.” 


A very MVIS Christmas and a Bartco UK New Year

The holidays are officially here and the MVIS / Bartco UK team have been getting ready throughout December for the long-awaited festive break of 2020.

Part of our preparations for the holidays this year already has been our Christmas Jumper Day, where we raised funds for Ashgate Hospicecare. This week, we also took part in our traditional food bank drive, where we encouraged our team to bring items for our local food bank.

Obviously, with some of our team working from home, the usual method of bringing items into the office was not possible, however, we didn’t let this get in the way.

Members of the team were encouraged to donated to their local food bank or send money to one of our managers to make a donation on their behalf. As a result, we managed to gather a very respectable amount of food and required items to donate between us.

This year, with soaring unemployment and the world in crisis with COVID-19, our help is needed more than ever. Food banks are an important part of our community that puts food on the tables of those who need it most. It is for this reason that we shouldn’t let COVID-19 get in the way of our responsibilities as a business in our community.

But of course, Christmas is also about having fun too, which is why we thought it highly important to make the most of the annual Christmas party, which is always a guaranteed blast. However, as with everything this year, COVID put up limitations on what we could do, forcing us to conduct a virtual party. Despite these limitations, the party this year was a resounding success, potentially even one of the best yet, complete with bingo, quizzes, Secret Santa, ‘Guess the Baby’ and a delicious meal ordered right to our own doors as well. 

As the team wind down for the holidays, we tip our hats to our staff who remain on call over Christmas and New Year. MVIS operates a 24/7, 365 days a year emergency support line, which, given the circumstances this year, is especially crucial to the safety of the nation should any of our clients, such as Local Authorities or hospitals require assistance over the break.

Our office opening times over the holidays are:

24th – 25th Dec – Closed

29th – 31st Dec – 08:00 – 16:00

1st Jan – Closed

4th Jan – 08:00 – 17:30

Our emergency line is available 24/7 – 01629 580570


The MVIS and Bartco UK team want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2021!


 


2020 Advent Calendar