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EM Highways, the contractor that helps the Highways Agency manage the smooth running of Area 9, is storing and monitoring its Airwave radios, using a Traka cabinet.
Area 9 is the Highways Agency’s network in central England and a two-way radio system, Airwave, is used to enable traffic operatives and asset incident watchmen (AWI) to talk with each other, across the network. The Traka 32 locker enables authorised users to trace who has a handset, or who had it last if it goes missing, and see which terminals are in or out of each locker by carrying out a real-time audit.
This is imperative because the network is vast, and a viable means of communication is essential. Traffic operatives need a way to interact with the agency, to produce a quick-response time. The real-time audit means information can be readily shared among staff and it also encourages greater personal responsibility and minimises damage and downtime.
The previous system used by EM Highways left the handsets open to abuse and they would go missing, be misplaced or easily lost. This caused problems because someone starting their shift would not have access to a handset and would have to take time searching for one. There was not an appropriate sign in and sign out system, to ensure the safe return of handsets and with up to 80 radios in use at any time, it was hard to know who was using one and where they were.
Batteries would also go flat quickly meaning someone starting their shift would not have access to a fully charged radio and there were instances when some devices were mistakenly taken home after a 12-hour shift, causing a shortage of radios for anyone starting work.
To use the radios, the Highways Agency must apply to the Home Office for a licence, and meet the criteria set out in the Airwave Code of Practice. The lockers have also helped ensure EM Highways adheres to the code, which requires the terminals to be stored securely, readily accessible, restricted to authorised users only, protected from malicious damage and monitored and accounted for.
The system has also reduced the risk of theft and loss of equipment. If devices are broken, damaged, lost or stolen, it notifies staff through its database, showing who has taken what and whether it has been returned.
Area 9 contract holder, Paul Atkin from EM Highways, said: “Monitoring radio use is invaluable as the accountability ensures they are being looked after and it also allows us to monitor the times they are being returned so that we adhere to the criteria set out in the Area Code of Practice. Traka has given us peace of mind and comfort to be able to go into the database and check on the location and position of radios and know when they are booked out and by who.”
Traka has also created an e-book that is available for free download, telling of the project from the EM Highway’s perspective. The book includes videos, testimonials and product details: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/traka-helps-em-highway-services/id1011830760?mt=11