Our customers are not always easy to reach through traditional communication channels given the transient nature of customers on the network.
While planning a scheme on a busy route into Leeds city centre that would include lane closures and speed limitations we recognised that this scheme would have an impact on customers, particularly regular commuters.
We decided to trial using twitter as an additional method to communicate and suggested promoting the channel and source via road signs with the hashtag.
Highways England agreed to the proposal and to post the tweets via their @HighwaysYORKS twitter account which has 23.6k followers in the region. Even if you don’t follow the account, twitter users can easily search the hashtag and the list of updates will be available in chronological order.
It also means that questions raised can be answered instantly allowing key messages to be promoted.
We agreed to send a weekly update on progress every Friday to include plans for the following week, traffic management, closures, free recovery, diversions and speed enforcement as well as any changes to existing site arrangements.
The plan was to post the update 5am the following Monday.
Any incidents or changes to traffic management that would impact road users and the community was to be managed ad-hoc.
This has seen a marked increase in positive engagement and feedback from customers and allowed us to directly address customer queries.
We have also seen a significant drop in customer enquiries through traditional slower forms of communication.
Due to the success of this we added the channel to a scheme on A64 at Barton Hill too!
And, we are just about to start using this on the pending M62 junction 27/28 scheme.