Will you be donning lycra this weekend for the annual Prudential’s RideLondon or instead be stuck in a transport planning office trying to keep your delivery operation on track?
Given the proximity of Paragon HQ to the Surrey Hills, you won’t be surprised to hear we have a large number of cycling enthusiasts here at Paragon who relish the challenge of racing up Box Hill or speeding down the surrounding mountain bike trails.
For transport planners tasked with delivering goods in London and Surrey during the Prudential RideLondon, however, this two day event is far less of a treat. There will be three days of road restrictions as thousands of spectators turn out to enthusiastically cheer on more than 100,000 elite and amateur cyclists from around the world.
In fact, with a rolling list of roads being closed and then opened again over the course of the weekend, it becomes a vehicle route planning nightmare for many logistics operations.
Major public events that rely on the road network, such as cycling races, marathons, carnivals and parades, all make the job more complicated for transport planners. They also often occur at times of increased demand from grocery stores, bars and restaurants for more frequent deliveries to ensure food and drink stock levels remain high.
Instead of just being able to update plans with order volumes, or amend schedules with the latest vehicle or driver resource availability, transport teams are faced with having to manually update maps and then brief drivers with the required changes, road by road. Potentially the same process may need to be repeated each year when an event takes place.
Save time by automating the approach
An alternative approach to managing this time-consuming task is to automate vehicle route planning for recurring events.
Using standard functionality in Paragon’s routing and scheduling software, you can enter the details of all the events that affect your transport plans using a simple calendar. Paragon Route Control then minimises the impact of these events – whether a monthly market or an annual sporting fixture – by diverting drivers away from what would usually be the quickest route in accordance with a set of pre-defined rules.
This is achieved by placing markers, known as waypoints, along the route to influence the selection or exclusion of roads. When the Paragon routing software reaches a waypoint, it will look at the parameters associated with it, and make a decision about whether to continue on the usual route or divert away from potential issues.
If the parameters are associated with an event that takes place every Saturday afternoon, Route Control will revert to the usual shortest route from Sunday to Friday but ensure the driver takes a route that avoids road closures and congestion on Saturday. What’s more, this diversion can be in place all day on a Saturday or just at specific times. This is particularly relevant for sporting events where a transport operation may want to avoid the area around a venue two hours before the start and two hours after it finishes when traffic volumes are at their highest.
Waypoints essentially guide the route away from its default path when a known event is triggered on that path.
Can you use it for anything else?
In addition to major public events, the software can also be used to manage time-related local authority restrictions on HGVs in cities around the world, such as weight-related movement restrictions in Warsaw or the London Lorry Control Scheme. Even local hotspots can be catered for, like schools at child drop-off times, to ensure that deliveries can always be made safely as efficiently as possible.
How do you ensure drivers actually follow the route?
If you, or your transport planners, have spent time manually adjusting routes for major public events or time-specific local authority restrictions, you will understand the potential benefits of using Paragon Route Control in reducing the time it takes to complete your vehicle route planning. But what happens when your vehicles leave the depot, because even the best thought out transport plans can quickly unravel if the driver does not follow the planned route?
Paragon’s Waypoint Mapping module ensures that your drivers follow each of those waypoints we mentioned in your transport plan by feeding the information into a Sat Nav in the cab. At each vital decision-making point, the driver will be guided by the Sat Nav to ensure he or she follows the planned route whether it’s match day or market day.
If you’re interested in finding out how Paragon can help you simplify event-related transport planning, why not get in touch with our experienced team to find out more. We promise they won’t be wearing lycra!
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