Smartphone to the window and off we go (from left): Petra Fürbeck (vialytics), building yard manager Manfred Scheicher, mayor Klaus Kögel and (outside) building authority manager Ralf-Peter Beutel during the demonstration of digital road recording. © Hanna von Prittwitz
A good 2.3 – this is the grade given by the software from vialytics to the road network in Seefeld. This is much better than the building yard and building authority would have evaluated the roads. The data also has an influence on future planning.
Seefeld – The preservation of the roads is a chapter in itself. Construction measures always cost a fortune. And where to start? In the future, the software from the Stuttgart-based company vialytics will help to better analyze road conditions in Seefeld and to plan maintenance more objectively. For this purpose, building yard employees drove the total of 45 kilometers of asphalt roads in Seefeld in autumn, and the next road condition check is to follow soon. The costs of the digital road analysis are up to 130 euros per network kilometre, depending on the length of the contract. However, Mayor Klaus Kögel and Head of the Building Authority Ralf-Peter Beutel expect savings in the long term.
"In the past, we drove off, got out, looked at the street, took pictures, wrote them down," explains Beutel. "That often ended up in a collection of notes." The municipality looked at other systems and opted for vialytics, "also because we can record the streets two or three times". The software is located in a smartphone that is attached to the windshield in the vehicle. The device takes a photo every four meters, and the algorithm analyzes the images for damage to the road surface – in 15 categories. License plates and faces are pixelated. The Bluetooth button on the steering wheel can be used to set markings while driving.
It is up to the municipality to decide when to record the route. "It's good if it's dry and not too sunny for a few days," said Manfred Scheicher, head of the building yard. He had estimated the condition of the roads in Seefeld at grade 4. Vialytics sales manager Petra Fürbeck explains that it has become a 2.3 as follows: "The municipalities often rate their streets badly, but they may only look bad because of a patchwork carpet." Beutel adds: "You subjectively see the bad, you don't register the good." And after all, the citizens do not complain about the good either. The objective analysis by the software is particularly appreciated by the customers, Petra Fürbeck knows.
It is important to always take a good look at all the streets: "It's like going to the dentist. The longer you wait, the deeper the holes, the more expensive the repair," says Fürbeck. The new system saves the building yard a lot of manpower. And it's easy to use. Scheicher can confirm this: "We attach the device, then someone drives the yard vehicle for two or three days. It's easy." For example, individual photos can always be taken on construction sites. "Many municipalities document everything and drive around a lot," says Fürbeck.
Evaluation on the screen: This is what the result for Seefeld looks like on the screen. © HVP
The result is evaluated in the web system of vialytics. The municipal employees can then look at it on a map, mark damage and draw up an action plan. This also makes it easier for the local council to make decisions, because the documentation is better. Last but not least, the municipality also gains greater legal certainty. Fürbeck gives an example in which a motorcyclist sued a municipality because of a pothole after damage. The municipality patched the hole, but did not document it. When a second motorcyclist also came around the corner with a claim for damages because of the same hole, the municipality could not prove that it had already repaired it. "She paid twice," says Fürbeck.
In the district of Starnberg, only the municipality of Krailling has been working with vialytics so far, and has been doing so for three years. The contract with Seefeld runs for a total of five years. "So far, 95 percent of the municipalities have extended," says Fürbeck. The company currently serves 300 municipalities in six countries such as France, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. The smallest customer has nine kilometers of road to keep in good shape, the largest, the city of Prague, 3500 kilometers. In Bavaria, 50 municipalities are on the road with vialytics, compared to only two two years ago.
Kögel, Scheicher and Beutel are confident that they have relied on the right system. The municipality of Seefeld is still at the very beginning of its use, Beutel notes: "We don't even have all the features in mind yet."