Developed in association with Kent County Council, *** ABLOADS *** is a sophisticated software package providing highway authorities with all the facilities required to manage Abnormal Load notifications and check the bridges affected by them.
*** ABLOADS *** principal features include:-
fully integrated capability to deal with fax and email notifications sent direct from hauliers or forwarded from the HA's ESDAL website, display and print them automatically, and reply to them
OS MasterMap mapping display for route selection and consequent bridge and restriction location, now with provision for aerial photo or raster mapping backing to assist origin/destination location
comprehensive data handling, maintaining audit standard records of movements, routes, hauliers and their vehicles, together with details of bridges, mapping, gazetteer and place names, standard routes, etc, together with a wide range of precompiled reports based on the collected data
includes Cascade's*** ARCH *** and *** ANALYSE *** bridge checking software, enabling even complex bridges on the notified route to be instantly checked for the actual vehicle axle weights and spacings notified, by a process of comparative assessment
Restrictions feature, enabling the checking process to pick up roadworks, weight, width and height limits, events, etc, time limited as appropriate
Thresholds feature, enabling Road Space Co-ordinators and other key staff to be copied in automatically on notifications where vehicle parameters exceed set threshold parameters
Throughout development and subsequently *** ABLOADS *** has been operated as a live system through which abnormal loads notified to Kent County Council And Medway Unitary Council have been received, recorded and checked with increasing sophistication. It has been in full and continuous service managing Kent’s system since early 1997. Some years ago, Balfour Beatty Mott Macdonald, the Highways Agency MAC for Area 4, commissioned Cascade to provide an *** ABLOADS *** service for their area. It is a thoroughly practical and fully tested tool, providing for all the conceivable needs and situations which such a system requires.
In recent years there have been additions to the *** ABLOADS *** family. *** ABLOADS QuickCheck *** is essentially the checking engine extracted from *** ABLOADS *** allowing ad hoc checks to be made for individual vehicles over individual bridges, with data on vehicles, problem bridges and checks being saved for re-use. *** ABLOADS Management *** is a version of *** ABLOADS *** without a mapping component: bridges to be checked are selected by the operator from knowledge and experience of the area, rather than automatically by selecting the notified route on a mapping display. Finally, *** AbHaulier *** provides hauliers with their own management and movement notification system, and is integrated with *** ABLOADS *** to allow automatic data transmission by Autotext .
The *** ABLOADS *** family are 32-bit programs designed for the Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista/7 operating systems. Desirably, the *** ABLOADS *** mapping display requires a fast processor and on-screen data entry is assisted by a large monitor. A backup storage device and a simple printer complete the hardware requirements.
Getting the most out of *** ABLOADS ***
When a new client purchases *** ABLOADS ***, Cascade carry out the installation on the client's computer directly, and provide the operational and maintenance staff with a full day' training on the system. Thereafter Cascade staff are at the end of a telephone Helpline which is usually answered immediately - no menu system! Every effort is made to resolve any issues raised as quickly as possible - it is rare for a problem not to be resolved the same day or even hour.
Many of the improvements regularly incorporated into the software result from Helpline calls and the close contact we try to keep with our clients. Upgrade patches incorporating these and other developments are made available about eight times per annum, notified to clients for download from our website.
The initial training given to client's staff immediately prior to delivery sometimes needs to be refreshed, and new staff need to be trained because of staff movements. Cascade provide additional on-site training to match this need. Such training is mutually beneficial: existing staff who have become familiar with the system are given the opportunity to extend their knowledge and skills, and the feedback to Cascade from such a training day can be very valuable.