Our road network is not expanding, but the number of vehicle journeys continues to increase inexorably. Huge investment is going into our roads and into renewing utility and highway infrastructure. All of which means more roadworks and increased congestion - unless we can make our roads work better.
Active management and intervention to optimise the road network has never been more important, but Highway Authorities are increasingly having to do more with less. Elgin’s contribution in this area is part of a new wave of revolutionary Big Data alternatives to costly hardware-orientated solutions.
Monitoring and actively managing traffic congestion has traditionally required substantial investment in roadside hardware to measure traffic flows, such as ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) and Bluetooth. This limits the application of such technology to only the most important traffic corridors due to the scale of capital investment and revenue overheads involved in maintaining kit. Highway Authorities are even more constrained in the ways in which they can keep drivers informed or influence driver behaviour. Only the most well-funded traffic management centres are able to afford systems capable of remote traffic signal strategies, and the deployment of VMS (Variable Message Signs) represents a huge financial commitment beyond the reach of most Local Authorities.
Implementation of smart new digital technologies holds the key to smarter transport network solutions. Elgin has partnered with TomTom to develop a real-time version of its traffic disruptions dataset, validated using real-time traffic flows - Real-Time Map. The system determines which roadworks are causing significant congestion, measuring the queuing time and traffic speed through specific works and where road and lane closures are in force. This intelligence is key to the management of both urban and rural networks and can be integrated with UTMC (Urban Traffic Management and Control) and other Intelligent Transport systems to provide real-time insight into the causes of congestion. The system is network agnostic working seamlessly across the strategic and local road networks and across Highway Authority boundaries. Crucially, no hardware investment is required.
The system can be tailored to the requirements of Traffic Management Centres, showing the real-time impact of roadworks, verified road closures, diversion routes and other disruptions, along with live feeds from UTMC systems such as VMS, traffic cameras and car park availability. These and many other sources of information on the road network are combined into a single authoritative view.
Use of this unique data resource enables traffic management and transport services to make better informed, more coordinated and smarter use of networks, powering intelligent systems which can help minimise roadspace occupancy, congestion and ensure the free flow of traffic.