Designed to tackle regional inequality across the UK, the Levelling Up fund brings together contributions from the Department of Transport, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, and the Treasury, amounting to £4.8 billion to invest in local infrastructure. A list of successful first round bidders was published in October.
As detailed in the Fund’s Round 2 prospectus, there are three themes for this next round: Transport investment, regeneration and town centre investment, and cultural investment.
To secure funding, bids will need to feature a robust Monitoring and Evaluation strategy. This is where we can help. Data led insights are a must when making decisions that inform urban development and infrastructure. Without them, it’s a guessing game.
Getting value for money: Let data steer your spending
If you’re awarded Levelling Up funding you will need to deliver ‘value for money’ with your investment. Monitoring and evaluation is imperative to this right from the start – from planning, to implementation, to evaluation.
1. Know where you’re starting from
In order to invest your funding wisely, it’s vital to truly understand the current state of your transport network – where it performs well and where it needs to perform better. It’s likely that you’ll already have ideas and public consultation is a valuable indicator. However, objective evidence, in the form of accurate, long-term multi-modal traffic monitoring data will make all the difference, enabling fact-led decision-making when it comes to allocating budget.
Our AI computer-vision sensors provide a whole range of accurate and anonymous datasets that meet the highest data protection standards. Datasets include multi-modal counts, zonal speed monitoring, journey times and classified paths (the route taken across road space by different types of road user), aggregating to provide insights into road user behaviour and patterns. Find out more about our solution on our sensor page.
This data can reveal a whole range of things that you may otherwise be in the dark about. For example, path data might show a high occurrence of pedestrian jaywalking across a busy road, indicating that a pedestrian crossing is necessary at a particular location; count data could highlight that there’s a large volume of cyclists using a road that doesn’t have an allocated cycle path and requires one.
Gathering data pre-intervention is not only crucial in identifying a genuine need for that intervention – it equips you with vital baseline data against which you will measure its success.
2. Understanding the impact of an intervention
As soon implementation takes place, monitoring of its impact should begin. Whether it’s a low traffic neighbourhood that aims to reduce the quantity of carbon emitting vehicles and improve an area’s walkability, or the integration of sensor data into a traffic control system in order to prioritise modal crossing in response to real-time demand, success can be measured with VivaCity sensor data.
Whatever the objectives of the intervention, accurate data-sets will reveal the reality of its success in meeting them. Comparing pre- and post-implementation data provides the robust, comprehensive evidence needed to demonstrate impact, reinforcing the necessity of the intervention. Only long-term monitoring will be able to truly validate the investment – a short-term captured snapshot is not enough. Enduring improvement is what the Levelling Up fund is all about, especially when considering the carbon footprint of some interventions. It’s important that they are worth the carbon expended to create them.
3. Communicating that success
According to Centre for Cities, the UK’s leading think tank dedicated to enhancing the economies of the largest cities and towns, levelling up should improve the standard of living across the country and help every place reach its productivity potential. There are many ways to measure prosperity, but one of the most effective gauges is the pride a community feels for the place that they call home.
To cultivate that pride, evidence of progress and success is key. Communities may have had reservations about the introduction of new infrastructure, and may be sceptical about its impact. Local authorities that are equipped with accurate, non-biased data, will be best placed to clearly communicate an intervention’s ‘before and after’, and nurture that sense of pride and prosperity.
And you could be one of them! Get in touch to learn more about our traffic monitoring sensors.
The deadline for Levelling Up Round 2 applications is fast approaching. Get in touch with the VivaCity team to discuss how VivaCity can help support your application.
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