January 22 - The UK Highways Agency has responded to criticism of its new Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads (ESDAL) programme

Sue Howard, ESDAL assistant project manager for the Highways Agency, said: "Usability studies were conducted with stakeholders prior to development of each of ESDAL's 4 phases. We also conducted pilot trials after each phase of development in order to gain feedback of how the system works in everyday use. As a result of the feedback received from these studies a further phase is currently in development ( Phase 5). This phase has been developed for the single purpose of enhancing the system in order to address feedback received from industry, and includes several new enhancements to ensure the system is user friendly. One of these enhancements is a simplified vehicle entry page which makes applying on line for the most common types of movement quicker and easier. This is scheduled to be completed in April 2010.

"Our stakeholders are kept informed of changes as they become available and also enhancements coming in the near future through ESDAL's portal pages and also via e-mail."

Future enhancements include the following: 

* Notification transmission status (which became available in November 2009) - hauliers are provided with a transmission status page for each notification sent. This page lists the status of all notifications to all recipients.

* Simplified vehicle entry (available April 2010) - there will be a single page to enter vehicle details used in an abnormal load movement which will simplify the entry of vehicle details in over 900f cases.

* A to B Mapping (available April 2010) - ESDAL will automatically plan a route, and return route if required, for the abnormal load movement from the start and end point selected by the haulier.

* Haulier collaboration (available April 2010) - road and structure owners and police will be able to provide feedback to the haulier on notifications made via ESDAL.