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					                                                                  AGENDA ITEM 8


Cabinet                                        CAB/080/04
Date: 29th November 2004                       Part I


CONDITION OF THE HIGHWAY NETWORK: PROGRESS REPORT

Report by Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation
Enquiries to Tony Ciaburro: 01245 437003


   1.     Purpose of Report

          This report outlines progress made over the last year against the
          Best Value Review performance indicators used to measure the
          condition of the highway network in Essex. The report also sets out
          in the appendices preliminary targets designed to put Essex County
          Council in the top quartile of all Authorities in terms of highway
          maintenance.

   2.     Recommendations

          That the Cabinet:

               i notes the considerable progress that has been achieved in
                 improving the conditions of the highway network in Essex over
                 the last year following the introduction of a new formula
                 for funding, a new regime of targeted maintenance and a new
                 prioritisation strategy.

               ii agrees that a business case designed to achieve targets that
                   will put the County Council in the top quartile of all Authorities
                   for highway maintenance be prepared and reported back to
                   the Cabinet for consideration early in the New Year.

   3.     Relevance to Essex Approach and other strategic plans

          Maintaining the highway network to a high standard is a major
          public concern and a high priority for the County Council and the
          Essex Approach. It is also one of the key components of the
          statutory Local Transport Plan. The highway network is one of the
          County Council’s most important assets and it makes eminent
          sense that it should be properly looked after to ensure that the
          transport system is efficient, effective and safe.




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   4.      Background

           The measurement of the condition of the highway network is
           covered by a number of Best Value Performance Indicators as
           shown below:

                     BV96 – percentage of the principal network not in good
                      condition (A roads)

                     BV97a – percentage of the non-principal classified network
                      not in good condition (B and C roads)

                     BV97b – percentage of the unclassified non-principal road
                      network not in good condition

                     BV187 – percentage of footway measured that is defective

                     ECC98 – percentage of the non-principal classified and
                      unclassified road network not in good condition (a
                      combination of BV97a and BV97b)

        During the summer of 2003, a major survey exercise was undertaken
        in order to determine progress against each of the indicators shown
        above. The outcome of this survey began to emerge in late October
        when the results revealed that the condition of the road network was in
        serious decline and that the trend of deterioration was increasing
        rapidly. All highway trends were going in the wrong direction in terms
        of the targets that had been set.

        These indicative figures triggered a major intervention whereby our
        whole approach to highway maintenance was reviewed and a new
        prioritisation and targeted improvement strategy was implemented to
        make better use of the funds available in order to address the trend in
        deterioration.

        One year on the survey has been repeated following this major
        intervention and a new set of figures are available which show the
        effect that the targeted approach has had.

   5.      Survey Results

        The outcome of the latest surveys undertaken during the summer 2004
        are shown graphically in the Appendices and are summarised below:

                   BV96 (A roads) – see Appendix 1
                    In 2003/04, 11.8% of the principal road network was found to
                    be not in good condition. However, by summer 2004 this had
                    been reduced to 6.5% representing a turnaround in direction of
                    some 45%. This change would move Essex from the fourth to


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               the second quartile of all Local Authorities as things currently
               stand.

              BV97a (B and C roads) – see Appendix 2
               In the summer of 2003, 25.93% of the network was not in good
               condition. The rate of deterioration was substantial, but by
               summer 2004 a significant slow down in the rate of decline was
               achieved giving a new figure of 26.9%, an increase of just 4%
               over the year. This figure means that the County Council
               would still remain in the third quartile of all Local Authorities.
               Now that the rate of increase has been arrested it is possible to
               target improvements to the B and C roads in order to bring the
               condition measurements back onto target using the new
               maintenance strategy and approach.

              BV97b (unclassified) – see Appendix 3
               In the summer of 2003, 24.6% of the network was not in good
               condition. By summer of 2004, this had been reduced to
               14.3%, a percentage change of 42% in the right direction. This
               would move the County Council from the third quartile into the
               best performing quartile of all Local Authorities.

              BV187 (footways) – see Appendix 4
               In summer of 2003, 24.42% of the network was not in good
               condition. By the summer of 2004, this had been reduced to
               20.5%, a turnaround of 16%. This would ensure that the
               County Council remains in the second quartile of all Local
               Authorities. It also means that we will meet our PSA target for
               footpaths and, therefore, should expect to be rewarded by in
               excess of £1m.

              ECC98 (BV97a and BV97b combined) – see Appendix 5
               The 2003 figures for ECC98 show that 25.04% of the network
               was not in good condition. The latest figures show that this has
               now been reduced to 18.6% representing a turnaround in
               direction of some 26%.

              Appendix 6 shows a composite of BV96, BV97a and BV97b,
               which represents the totality of the road network. The figures
               for 2003 show that 23.85% of the total network was not in good
               condition but by summer 2004, this had been reduced to 17.5%
               (a 26.62% change) and is therefore back on target.

   6.     Financial Implications

          The above improvement in performance has been achieved through
          a combination of an improved approach to tackling the problem of
          the adverse trend in the decline of the condition of the network
          coupled with an injection of additional finance. In order to ensure
          that the County Council moves into the top quartile for all of the


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          above targets by 2007/08, it will be necessary to build on the new
          approach by injecting further funding through a new maintenance
          initiative. The Highways and Transportation Service has developed
          a new means of performance management called “trajectory
          analysis” that helps to accurately forecast the cost implications of
          achieving this goal. Using this technique, coupled with the new
          maintenance strategy, a business case will be prepared for
          consideration by Cabinet early in the New Year.

   7.     Comments

          The Best Value performance indicators, collected mainly in the
          summer of 2003, were extremely worrying. However, through a
          major intervention, by summer 2004 all indicators had either been
          turned around or the rate of decline significantly reduced. It is
          important to recognise that the old figures were used by the Audit
          Commission to judge the performance of the Highways &
          Transportation Service as part of its Best Value Review and that
          these outdated figures continued to be used by the Audit
          Commission to judge the Service as part of the CPA. In addition,
          we now have clear baseline targets in which we are confident in
          order to assess progress for future CPA assessments.

          The new maintenance strategy and approach will help ensure that
          we get best value for money for every pound spent. However,
          whilst much has been achieved, it is important to realise that more
          funding will be needed to deal with the huge backlog of
          maintenance that currently exists to ensure that the network is
          effective and safe. The details of this will be covered in the
          proposed business case discussed above. This will include an
          analysis of existing priorities and an explanation of how existing
          resources will be used more efficiently and effectively. However, it
          is encouraging to see that our new approach and the new
          maintenance strategy, based around more effective targeting and
          use of materials, is having an impact and proving to be extremely
          effective.




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BV96 Percentage of the principal road network not in good condition
               Outturn        Target
2001/02               3.20%
2002/03               4.98%         3.20%
2003/04              11.80%         4.90%
2004/05               6.50%        10.00%
2005/06                             8.50%
2006/07                             7.00%
2007/08                             5.50%




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BV97a Percentage of the non-principal classified road network not in good condition

           Outturn             Target
2001/02          4.10%
2002/03         20.98%              3.80%
2003/04         25.93%             19.94%
2004/05         26.90%             20.00%
2005/06                            16.00%
2006/07                            12.00%
2007/08                             9.00%




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BV187 Percentage of footway measured that is defective
           Outturn         Target
2002/03         24.70%
2003/04         24.42%          24.30%
2004/05         20.50%          23.90%
2005/06                         23.50%
2006/07                         23.10%




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ECC 98 Percentage of the non-principal classified and unclassified road network not in good condition

          Outturn             Target
2001/02       6.60%
2002/03      14.98%               6.00%
2003/04      25.04%              14.27%
2004/05      18.60%              13.78%
2005/06                           0.00%
2006/07                           0.00%
2007/08                           0.00%




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Combined BV96, BV97a and BV97b
           Outturn       Target
2001/02          6.25%
2002/03         14.02%        4.76%
2003/04         23.85%       13.33%
2004/05         17.50%       21.83%
2005/06                      17.70%
2006/07                      15.73%
2007/08                      13.46%




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BV97b Percentage of the unclassified non-principal road network not in good condition

           Outturn             Target
2001/02          7.90%
2002/03         11.78%               5.50%
2003/04         24.60%              11.19%
2004/05         14.30%              20.00%
2005/06                             19.00%
2006/07                             18.00%
2007/08                             17.00%




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