Nationwide Data Collection

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Nationwide Data Collection's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Nationwide Data Collection is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.nationwidedatacollection.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
20 | NATIONWIDE DATA COLLECTION
Managing Director Gerard O’Regan
Part of our fleet
Nationwide Data Collection collect information for use
in major infrastructure projects throughout the UK and
Europe. Based at a head office in Warwick, they have
expanded to create offices in London, Scotland, Yorkshire
and Ireland and more recently have established a presence in
Deventer in the Netherlands. Heavily involved with the HS2
project, they are one of the leading traffic data collection
services in the country. Managing Director Gerard O’Regan
explores how they have embraced new technology and adapted
to decreased funding in the sector.
We offer a range of data collection services for use in developing new infrastructure
schemes. Traffic data collection is a specialist service for public and private sector
clients that allows traffic engineers and transportation planners to evaluate
proposed improvements to infrastructure and public transport services. The data is
used to assess the feasibility of proposals, as well as the potential benefits they will
bring. Existing traffic data is also an essential requirement for planning applications
for a wide range of developments.
Our main focus is providing quantitative data to clients for major road schemes,
specialising in large-scale traffic and transportation surveys, which include vehicle
and pedestrian counts, interviews, public transport surveys and journey time
assessments. We collect data for a range of different infrastructure schemes,
including roads, railways and bus corridors. We strive to provide clients with
FACTS ABOUT
NATIONWIDE DATA COLLECTION
»Managing Director:
GerardO’Regan
»Founded in 2008
»Based in Warwick with
offices in London, Yorkshire,
Scotland, Ireland and Deventer
»Services: Traffic data collection
and market research for traffic
engineering
»No. of employees: 90
permanent, with an average
of 400 casual staff every
month
»No. of clients: 350
Nationwide Data
Collection
21NATIONWIDE DATA COLLECTION |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
accurate data in a timely and cost-
effective manner. Our experienced
staff work alongside our clients to
ensure that the data provided meets or
exceeds their expectations.
Embracing new technology
Increasing developments in digital
technology have enabled us to
make major advances in the way
we collect traffic data. Traditionally,
the vast majority of traffic data
was collected manually by traffic
enumerators at the roadside. This
process has been significantly
innovated. We now use automatic
number plate recognition technology
to track vehicle movements, and
high-definition video cameras have
now become standard tools in the
industry. These improvements allow
us to provide more accurate data in a
shortertimeframe.
We are one of the main data providers
for traffic consultants working on
a variety of national infrastructure
developments, including HS2. Our data
is rigorously checked to ensure it is
robust, accurate and able to withstand
inevitable scrutiny.
Adapting to changing
regulations
The most recent change in the industry
has come about with the introduction
of GDPR, which came into effect in
May 2018. This change in legislation
required us to re-evaluate the way
we collected and stored our data,
to ensure that no personal data was
gathered without the individual’s
consent. This mainly affected the
information we collected through our
ANPR, interview and video surveys.
To adapt to these new requirements,
we developed a number of privacy
impact assessments to ensure
full adherence to the regulations.
Although some of our service remains
unaffected, these changes are essential
to remain compliant.
We cater for a broad range of
customers. These include private
individuals, small planning practices,
local governments and many major
public agencies, including the
Highways Agency, the Department
for Transport, Transport Scotland and
Transport for London. The vast majority
of our work is commissioned by traffic
Video surveying
We are one of
the main data
providers for
traffic
consultants
working on a
variety of
national
infrastructure
developments,
including HS2
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | NATIONWIDE DATA COLLECTION
consultants who are themselves usually
employed by public bodies to evaluate
road or public transport schemes.
One of the greatest challenges
we face is the need to maintain
our high standard of service with
decreasing budgets and demanding
timescales. Clients working on
major infrastructure schemes often
seek to minimise expenditure on
data collection – an essential part
of the modelling process that is
used to justify the necessity of these
schemes. The economic crisis of 2008
introduced severe cutbacks, and, in a
lot of situations, we are still living with
the effects of this.
To overcome these issues, we
endeavour to engage with our
clients at the earliest possible stage
of a project to identify the data
requirements. This helps to ensure
that adequate funds and timescales
can be agreed. Providing accurate
data is essential, as the traffic models
subsequently developed underpin
the entire infrastructure project.
Themodelling will eventually be used
to justify these projects before a
publicinquiry.
Working with successive
governments
The vast majority of transport funding
flows from central government and is
the lifeblood of our business. We have
no political affiliation, and changes in
government have generally brought
benefits to the transport business.
Different governments will have
different infrastructure preferences
and objectives, whether this be greater
investment in rail and bus services
or road building. These preferences
do not greatly affect us: the crucial
element is that funding is provided for
transport. We will work with whatever
the priority of the current government
happens to be. All major infrastructure
projects, no matter their specific nature,
will generally require some type of
data collection, so we are well placed
to assist the government and their
consultants on a wide range ofprojects.
Although we operate in an
international market, we do not
believe that our business will be
severely impacted by Brexit, as the vast
majority of our turnover stems from
business conducted in the UK. We are
therefore very confident that we will
emerge unscathed.
We began trading in September
2008, which was the precise start
of the major economic crisis. We
have endured many years of difficult
trading conditions, which saw several
of our more established competitors
fold. We take pride in the fact that
we were able to survive this difficult
period and look forward to expanding
our business in the coming years. We
aim to keep growing in the UK and
to make further inroads into Europe,
following our successful first step into
the Netherlands.
This change in
legislation
required us to
re-evaluate
the way we
collected and
stored our
data, to ensure
that no
personal data
was gathered
without the
individual’s
consent
Roadside interview
survey

www.nationwidedatacollection.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Nationwide Data Collection. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy