Wallonia: manage road incivilities using a satnav-based app
The Wallonia Region Administration (Service Public de Wallonie – SPW) is in charge of coordinating public services in the region in the areas of environment, natural resources, waste management, territorial planning, mobility etc.
The Directorate General for Highways and Housing of Wallonia oversees operations related to road and highway infrastructure management and maintenance. The Regional Police for Roads and Highways is part of this Directorate.
Wallonia’s roads have been afflicted by offenses, incivilities, or sometimes simply negligent behaviour from drivers and inhabitants, such as illegal dumping of waste, tagging, unauthorised posters, illegal occupation etc. While these are all small-time offenses, their recurrence disfigures the road landscape and fuels a feeling of insecurity.
The specialised Regional Police Service (SPW) aimed to reduce offenses by introducing field inspections by public officers as well as an administrative fining system. Given the relatively reduced number of staff available, and their lack of policing competences, the Service had to provide officers with easy-to-use, efficient means to locate, report and fine offenders who would otherwise go unsanctioned.
The satellite solution
SPW adopted an electronic system designed by Galateia allowing public officers to report incidents in a uniform and simplified manner, in real time, via mobile phones used in the field. The application “Poldom” allows public officers to accurately geo-position the incident, send relevant information and photos to the central system by selecting different options from a drop-down menu, file a report, and sanction. Public officers can also remotely access information from other databases such as the Road Data Bank (RDB) and the Federal Public Justice System. This incident reports thus received are seamlessly integrated in the central management system.
The use of satellite navigation enables the Service to be effective despite a reduced number of staff and budgetary constraints. The duration of the administrative procedure in case of an offence is drastically reduced. Administrative fines are dealt with on the spot, reducing red-tape. The reports filed in the field using this application have legal value, as they allow the Regional Police to call for sanctions even when Public Prosecution drops a pursuit or does not react in the 60 days after receiving the offense report. The Wallonia government is now considering an extension of the service to other local authorities facing similar problems.
“Technology can transform a public service, but it should never be dehumanised, meaning it should be adaptable and have the capacity to evolve according to staff needs.” Freddy Ruggiero, Regional Delegate of the Directorate General for Highways and Housing of Wallonia.