Swapping to MetroCount: Northumberland’s Story
Northumberland County Council made the switch to MetroCount systems in 2021 and haven’t looked back since. Northumberland’s Traffic Count Officer, Bernie Gillis, shares the Council’s reasons and feedback below.
“Northumberland County Council carries out traffic surveys for a variety of reasons. We work in conjunction with Northumbria Police to identify areas where speeding is deemed to be a problem. We also carry out surveys in order to justify extending 30 mph zones and for the installation of 20 mph zones. Additionally, we establish safe traffic speeds for new highway access being proposed in the case of a new development.
Northumberland is a big county; it is well over an hour’s drive to reach the county boundary both to the North and to the West, from where I am based. This is a long way to go to find out a week later, that a counter has failed just an hour or two after the survey started.
Up until June 2021, we were using survey equipment purchased over twenty years ago from another vendor. Reliability and data quality was becoming an issue.
To compound this, we were in a position where the manufacturer [of the old equipment] would no longer repair or service the equipment, so we had to make a decision.
After trialling a couple of MetroCount RoadPod® VTs, we decided that they were exactly what we were looking for. We now have twenty-two of them, and they are working well.
A favourite feature of the equipment is the ease with which it is set out on site. I also like the fact that it is possible to put a site description into the header, whilst setting up on-site.
The extremely long battery life is also a very useful feature as is the rugged metal (steel I think*), case that the unit sits in – we have had counters in aluminium cases vandalised in the past.
*MetroCount note: Yes, powder-coated stainless steel.
The software that comes with the MetroCount roadside units is a little different from what I have been used to. However, after a couple of Teams sessions with Daryl, I soon got the hang of it, any issues or queries were quickly answered.
Starting in the next week, all twenty-two counters will be in operation, in and around the town of Blyth in Northumberland, gathering baseline data to be used in the redevelopment of the town centre.”