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From motorways to urban roads; how continued innovation keeps traffic flowing

Keeping traffic flowing across UK roads requires both good infrastructure and detailed information. No matter what type of road, from motorways to urban, or type of operator, from Highways England (HE) to local authorities, all need accurate and reliable information.

Road operators need to know what type of traffic is using the roads (count and classify), when and how easily they are using it (journey times and flow) and how often (volume and capacity). This provides an understanding of roads with high usage and changes in use to inform decisions on new schemes and road investments.

Over its 40 years, Clearview Intelligence is proud to have worked with all the industry road operators, providing the various types of vehicle data. Both the industry and our own company have had to develop our tools and technology to maintain these information flows.

On the major motorway and trunk road network Highways England use the National Traffic Information Service (NTIS) system as part of their regional monitoring and planning infrastructure. NTIS interfaces with many systems from different suppliers to obtain data on Highways England’s network of roads. It then collates and processes this data to provide users of the services with the information they need, as quickly and as easily as possible, helping them make informed decisions about travel.

Typically, this data feeds into traffic news, roadside signs, live travel updates and more recently smart motorway management. Clearview’s traffic monitoring kits can be found on HE roads across England, providing vehicle count and classification data. These kits have been in place for many years and with the advancement of technology and new thinking we have recently updated the units. This means existing TMU and TAME kits can now be replaced with new Clearview Intelligence TMU2 traffic monitoring units. The new units are fully supported and provide improved system and data availability with reliable performance. The TMU2’s can be called off by regional maintenance teams from HE stores as part of the routine maintenance stocks.

We also provide count and classify monitoring and data provision to the majority of the DBFO (Design, Build, Finance, Operate) companies. For DBFO companies the accuracy of the data is crucial as it is used in the calculation for maintenance payments they receive from the HE.

Clearview provide count and classify services to over 70% of the DBFO road network, much of which are long term relationships built over many years of working together.

Local Authorities and organisations such as Transport for London also need to understand the use of their roads to inform their route and congestion planning. Clearview monitoring kits are installed across many of the UK’s counties and cities and contribute to the ongoing monitoring of our daily drives. In these days of tight budgets and constant reviews, Clearview have developed costing models that mean a local authority has options on how best to fund this kind of service. The options include: data supply and use deals, a spread of capital costs across a number of years, or the traditional installation and use model.

This data is of no use at all if it cannot be used or interpreted. Our cloud based software platform called Insight® takes the data and transforms it into intelligence. Insight uses the data feeds from Clearview products and other sources such as crowd sourced traffic information and presents this to the road operators in formats that are actionable.

This could take the form of:

  • regular downloadable reports of traffic volumes;
  • live map views of the traffic flows;
  • or linking the software to variable message signs and providing live traffic information to the road user.

As the industry and technology develops, we continue to invest in research and development to ensure our products and services continue to remain relevant and useful on all types of road environments across the UK.

Author: Andrew R |Date Published: March 2018

Links: Network Management

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