February 2020

Project News

Update from BBVS

BBVS achieved a key milestone on Friday 14 February, when all consolidation deliverables were successfully submitted to HS2. This is an important step in the overall programme governance, as it will provide more certainty on our overall price and schedule.

The following three pieces of work were key to our consolidation submission:
Final design and constructability verification report
The report concludes the due diligence assessment of the Station Design Services Contract (SDSC) and WSP design, which has taken BBVS five months to complete. We have made over 2500 comments, been involved in design workshops, peer reviews, and contractual notifications. This has provided us with an enhanced understanding of the design we will inherit and develop through to detailed design. The report also summarises the projects risks and opportunities for innovation and value engineering.

The cost verification report
Rather than acting as a standalone assessment, the document is a result of ongoing costings and a reporting programme, which is derived from a collaboration between HS2, WSP and BBVS. Since the starting date, we have produced a monthly report advising HS2 on our forecast cost for the works. In addition, BBVS has remeasured the job, checking the client’s quantities and worked to establish a supply chain to support the package strategy. Over 150 enquiries were then sent out to the market and reviewed to ensure that appropriate allowances were included within the forecast.

The consolidation programme
This document provides HS2 with details of the OOC Station programme and shows the full life cycle of the project through design, procurement, consents, construction, testing, commissioning and handover. It also contains a programme narrative and a one-page snap summary of the programme. BBVS worked closely with the HS2 team during the lead up to submission, developing a collaborative programme which reflects our emerging scope, a revised possession regime, revised access dates and productivity rates.

In addition to these documents, BBVS have finalised and submitted a comprehensive suite of plans to support delivery of the HS2 Old Oak Common station objectives, including those related to control of the design, supply chain procurement, construction management and delivery of works. Many of you have been working hard to ensure a further nine project plans achieve a code 1 status in preparation for this key milestone.

BBVS will continue their close collaboration with HS2 as it reviews and examines the documentation prior to issuing the consolidation notice in spring 2020. At this point the SDSC contract (design works) will be transferred to BBVS for direct management and the performance KPI’s (budget and programme) under the contract will become applicable.

The entire BBVS team demonstrated true professionalism and diligence, completing the required documentation and ensuring all the details were submitted to the client by close of business on Friday 14 February. Congratulations and well done to everyone who contributed to reaching this key project objective!

Nigel Russell
BBVS Project Director


SEStran Regional Demand Responsive Transport Strategic Study!

SYSTRA Ltd is working on a project in South East Scotland where we will carry out a Strategic Study to identify opportunities to raise awareness of DRT services in the region and create modern, resilient DRT services that explore traditional forms of DRT such as Community Transport and supporting local bus services and as well as innovative ‘smart mobility’ solutions such as Mobility as a Service.

Our scope of work will include:

  • Benchmarking study of other areas and services;
  • Stakeholder engagement:
  • Organisations providing DRT services;
  • The funders of services, including local authorities; and
  • Customer/potential customer representatives.
  • Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats analysis;
  • Option generation and refinement focussing on:
  • Cross boundary operations;
  • Partnership working;
  • Rural areas;
  • Digital services, technology and innovation;
  • Emerging, new delivery models;
  • Environment; and
  • Equalities and inclusion.

A framework tool for examining current schemes and assessing future investments across multiple years


SYSTRA Delivering Engineering in Kent

Back in 2019 the London Infrastructure Team assisted Kent County Council to successfully deliver the first part of this major scheme – the submission of the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) Bid to reduce congestion on the A249 and realise potential for further development, supporting economic growth and reducing congestion county-wide. The bid proposed a major upgrade of the Grovehurst and Key St junctions along the A249 to present an alternative route to the M2. This improvement will not only reduce the need to travel through the centre of Sittingbourne on the A2 but will also lessen dependence on the A249 and the single motorway junction at M2 J5.

SYSTRA’s input for the HIF Bid involved; Business Case Support, Optioneering and Outline Design for two major grade separated junctions. SYSTRA proposed options that considered a dumbbell roundabout, two fully signalised junctions and the introduction of a new bridge to form a large gyratory, taking into account parameters such as site constraints, traffic flows (existing and future), land ownership, terrain levels, environmental factors and an existing bridge. Following a strict Option Appraisal involving traffic modelling, the preferred option of a gyratory was selected.

In November 2019, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the Government was approving £38M for the HIF improvements proposed by SYSTRA which will have to be designed and delivered by 2024.

The HIF success in turned confirmed the award of the detailed design phase to the London Infrastructure Team, the scope currently including:

  • the Detailed Design for the upgraded interchanges
  • Project Management
  • Principal Designer Role under CDM (2015) Regulations
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Environmental Impacts & Geotechnical Investigation
  • Traffic Modelling
  • Highways England Liaison

This high profile win will further raise SYSTRA’s profile in being able to deliver major highways engineering schemes and reinforce the strong relationship established with Kent County Council. For more information, feel free to contact Darren Miller, David Clark or Ellie Holliday in the London office.


Dundee Bus Priority

SYSTRA was commissioned by Dundee City Council (DCC) in 2019 to update the outdated Dundee City Paramics model to reflect current network and traffic conditions, to allow use of the model to examine options for the proposed Low Emission Zone in the city. As part of this refresh the model was expanded significantly to cover the entire city area, using an extensive traffic survey dataset.

Following on from the base model development, a 2023 reference case network was developed including planned infrastructure and traffic associated with committed developments within the city. This reference case model forms the basis for ongoing testing of proposed Low Emission Zone boundaries, where the modelling will be used to identify the impacts of displaced traffic, and also to provide traffic flows and speeds for input to the Dundee City Air Quality model, developed in ADMS by SEPA, which will establish the effectiveness of the proposals in improving air quality in the city.

In parallel to the LEZ work, Transport Scotland made funds available to councils to undertake studies considering measures which would work in support of the LEZ schemes in delivering improved air quality. DCC was successful in obtaining funding to examine bus priority measures across the city, which would improve bus journey times and reliability and help encourage modal shift to public transport. SYSTRA has been commissioned to undertake the first stage of this bus priority study. This stage involves firstly identification of locations for improvements, building upon schemes proposed by xplore Dundee, the key bus operator in the city. Thereafter individual schemes will be examined in the Paramics model, and outline designs and costings developed, to identify feasible options to take forward to more detailed consideration. It is anticipated that SYSTRA will be retained for this secondary detailed workstream, and any further follow on work taking chosen schemes through to the detailed design stage.


5 Cities Demand Management Study

With the impacts of traffic congestion, climate change and air pollution trending as hot topics for debate during the recent Irish general election, SYSTRA Ltd in Dublin has been appointed by the Department for Transport, Tourism & Sport (DTTAS) to undertake a study across Ireland’s 5 largest cities about how best to address these issues.

Working closely with local stakeholders, SYSTRA Ltd will be undertaking a comprehensive study to identify potential measures to best manage vehicle movements in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford – to reduce congestion and transport-related emissions while improving air quality and helping to make our cities more pleasant places to live, work, shop and visit.

Our data collection and analysis will help to establish the current make-up of Electric Vehicle fleets travelling within our cities, while our modelling will test the impact of a range of potential measures on both congestion and emissions levels in each city. Our approach will embed an evidence-based review of international best practice, with our local insight and stakeholder engagement ensuring that the most effective measures are prioritised according to the unique local circumstances of each city.

The outputs of the Study will be a series of evidence-based Demand Management recommendations for each city, along with a roadmap for delivery.


Historic Ferry’s Next Adventure

Ferries have run across the Tyne since 1377, with the current Shields Ferry providing a strategic link between North and South Shields. Perhaps then, NEXUS and North Tyneside Council felt the time had come for a change when they commissioned SYSTRA to explore the potential demand and revenue impacts of relocating the North Shields ferry landing. Opportunities to link to new developments in Fish Quay and Royal Quays, along with maintenance costs at the current landing inspired consideration of scenarios for new terminals and routes.

SYSTRA’s experience using the North-East Elasticity Demand Model gave the modelling and appraisal team a structure for demand forecasting in the region, with forecast econometric data up to 2030. Updates to the model were undertake to facilitate the testing programme as well as the incorporation of new key local data sources. The work undertaken considered several landing and route options forecast to facilitate optimal demand and revenue between 2021 and 2030, compared to the current landing site reference case. Examination of the start and final destinations of ferry passengers was undertaken, providing information to NEXUS on the users likely to be impacted, as well as geographical and overall changes in demand expected for each option.

After a successful presentation at NEXUS house, SYSTRA has now been commissioned to conduct an economic appraisal for the preferred option and take it forward to outline business case, moving the project forward with the possibility of an historic change for this historic ferry service.


Beginner’s Guide to Making Streets Healthier…

In the last few years, Healthy Streets has developed from an idealistic concept into an official design approach for London’s streets. The vision links the physical design of the street with both transport and health matters, promoting the uptake of active travel and places an individual’s well-being within and experience of the urban environment at the core of planning the city. As outlined in the Draft New London Plan and the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (2018), the Healthy Streets approach is designed to improve personal health and reduce health inequalities through promoting active, sustainable travel throughout the capital. The new approach marks an overall shift in planning policy, focusing less so within the confines of the development itself in favour of the experience of those using the development or passing through.

The London Development team was appointed by MBU Capital in 2019 to provide transport and highways consultancy services associated with the redevelopment of St. Nicholas House, Sutton. The proposals involve partial demolition and extension of the existing building to provide a 14-storey development with approx. 200 residential units, as well as office and retail spaces on the ground floor. The site is in a sustainable and accessible location in Central Sutton, with good opportunities by foot, cycle and public transport, connecting the area to a variety of facilities and amenities.

As part of this commission, SYSTRA produced a Transport Assessment and Travel Plan. With Healthy Streets being incorporated into official TfL planning policy, Peter May conducted an Active Travel Zone Assessment for St. Nicholas House. This involved a site visit to Sutton and then mapping potential key destinations within a twenty minute cycling distance, such as stations, town centres, schools, parks and hospitals. Cycling and walking routes from the Site to the nearest and most likely destinations were also highlighted. This assessment was a success, with TfL’s official approval obtained in a timely manner.

SYSTRA appreciates that more must be discussed and learned on the Healthy Streets approach, before it is truly embraced and integrated into London’s development framework. As consultants regularly engaged in the London development and property markets, SYSTRA remains fully supportive of this positive and people-led change in policy. Having attended specific TfL workshops on the Healthy Streets approach, SYSTRA are well versed on advising clients what the implementation of such a change in planning policy may mean for current and future planning applications.

Further information on SYSTRA’s interpretation of TfL’s Healthy Streets programme can be found here.

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