Nottinghamshire use QRoutes to restart Adult Social Care transport in lockdown
Transport planners at Nottinghamshire County Council are so pleased with how QRoutes routing software has transformed home-to-school journeys, they’ve extended it to their Adult Social Care (ASC) services.
Before the pandemic ASC routes were planned manually, which included on-the-day adjustments by drivers. The council said drivers were often unhappy with this as it could lead to an unfair and inefficient distribution of work.
When Covid struck, ASC services were completely suspended. The local authority’s transport planning team was then given two weeks’ notice to restart services for their most vulnerable clients.
This involved about 120 customers returning to use the day services – normal capacity had been 500 people per day – but vehicles had to reduce numbers due to social distancing restrictions.
With such a short window to completely reorganise the routes and include the new Covid restrictions, the transport planning team’s assistant manager Simon Roberts said it was clear they needed to switch to the automated system as “it would have been a nightmare to plan manually in the timeframe”.
This presented an opportunity to add QRoutes software to the ASC planning process.
It gave the council a chance to make life easier for drivers and day centre staff, who had wanted the fleet operations team to take over this role due to the length of time it took for it to be completed manually.
QRoutes stepped in to support fleet operation managers get the automated routing system up and running as quickly as possible, ensuring all passengers’ individual mobility needs were met.
They also helped the transport planning team restructure the data and take into account different service users’ requirements such as time needed to board a vehicle.
The software is still in place and enables schedules to be updated quickly when unexpected changes happen – for example, when a driver is absent or a vehicle becomes unavailable.
The council said the QRoutes online planning tool had not only helped their planning team to create a clearer and more efficient system but had benefitted drivers, clients and staff at the day centres.
Fleet operations manager Andy Frogg said: “The team hasn’t had any complaints on timings. I’d like to keep this.”