Peter Brett Associates sees benefits in its location planning and accessibility studies
In an initiative to improve the precision and accuracy of its location planning and accessibility studies, integrated UK-based consultancy Peter Brett Associates (PBA) has invested in a package of geographic analysis and digital mapping products from MapMechanics, the specialist systems house in mobile management, scheduling and geographic information systems and data.
PBA says that on projects using the new products so far, the results have been highly accurate and detailed, and have helped reinforce the confidence with which it can present its analysis to clients.
A range of products have been supplied by MapMechanics, including GeoConcept, the powerful GIS and mapping application; NAVTEQ digital map data; and ITIS road speed data, which attaches real-world road speeds to individual sections of road, separated into different times of day.
PBA offers a wide variety of consultancy services in the transport field. Clients range from commercial businesses to planning authorities, highway authorities, transport providers and national and regional ecological and heritage organisations.
The work often involves studies into the accessibility of existing or proposed developments, or finding the optimal location for new facilities – projects that often mean estimating travel times to and from key points. Such studies frequently also include demographic analysis in order to focus on exactly those social groups most likely to use the facilities under scrutiny, and to target transport provision to socially deprived areas.
The package from MapMechanics has helped with this kind of work in a number of ways, according to GIS planner Theresa Hopkins. For instance, she says, the company particularly values the ability of GeoConcept to display layered vector road maps with a high degree of accuracy. This makes the system highly effective in “what-if” exercises, she says – for instance, considering the accessibility of an existing site or proposed development, and checking the surrounding public transport infrastructure.
“It is very easy to add or remove footpaths, roads, links such as proposed bridges, or new stations that will enhance the accessibility,” she says.
Another application in which GeoConcept has proved useful is demographic analysis and population estimates based on walking, cycling and driving time outputs. For example, the company might need to measure the percentages of 12- to 16-year-olds living within a 30-minute cycle travelling time from an existing or proposed school or college. Or it might need to find the number of people who live within a true 5km distance (calculated by road network, not just straight-line measurement) from a proposed school or doctor’s surgery.
Similarly PBA may be asked to suggest the optimal locations for truck stops or shopping centres. With the accessibility output and other data such as census or traffic counts, GeoConcept helps to find the best location.
Its isochrone analysis capability is also proving useful on trip distribution projects. For example, roads might be “assigned” to employees travelling to their existing offices on the basis of postcodes – providing an overview of the utilisation of the road network between home and office.
ITIS road speed data has proved especially effective in providing PBA clients with real-world travel times at different times of day, The source data is gathered by ITIS in real time from a pool of over 50,000 vehicles in daily use throughout the country, using literally billions of “plots” to establish reliable figures. This information is then applied very finely to individual sections of road.
Road speeds are available for three periods of the day (peak, off-peak and night time), which enables PBA to provide better results and answers to clients who require an overall picture of accessibility during different periods of the day. “We can confidently provide accurate analysis for both peak and off-peak periods using GeoConcept,” says Theresa Hopkins.
She also praises the accuracy of the NAVTEQ digital map data supplied by MapMechanics. “This is crucial in our high detailed projects,” she says. “It provides base mapping that works not only in GeoConcept, but also in all our other existing GIS applications.” NAVTEQ provides road and street mapping for the whole of Britain and Europe.
PBA points out that it continues to use other GIS and planning products alongside those provided by MapMechanics. “Our organisation is vendor-neutral and possesses extensive experience with leading market standard GIS packages,” Theresa Hopkins explains. But she adds that the new products from MapMechanics have quickly established a firm role for themselves within its portfolio of resources.
About MapMechanicsImage available at:
MapMechanics uses digital map-based technologies to offer an extensive range of Web, desktop, paper and component solutions for a variety of business applications, from atlas production to business analysis, site selection, customer profiling and vehicle routing and scheduling.
MapMechanics is the UK distributor of the GeoConcept geographic information system, which is widely used in a diverse range of fields including retail planning, marketing, healthcare, environmental planning and management, policing, broadcasting, asset tracking, transport and logistics, as well as in central and local government.
MapMechanics distributes a wide range of data products including AA, NAVTEQ and Ordnance Survey digital mapping, as well as leading business and demographic datasets from many sources throughout the world. This data is listed in the MapMechanics Data Catalogue, which is probably the most extensive and up-to-date printed listing of its kind in Britain. It is published twice yearly, and is also available on the Internet.
MapMechanics also supplies and supports MicroAnalytics’ TruckStops in Britain. TruckStops is the world’s most widely-deployed routing and scheduling solution, and is in use in North and South America, Britain, continental Europe and elsewhere.
Backing up its extensive product range, MapMechanics offers a comprehensive service of implementation support and training.
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