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How Data as a Service (DaaS) is used in the Intelligent Transport Sector (ITS)

We’ve seen many changes in the challenges our clients face over our 40-year history. Initially, our clients needed to know what traffic was using their network. We supplied the hardware to answer this question. Over time our clients have become less concerned with the equipment at the roadside and more concerned with the data. In particular, they need to make sense of the data and turn it into actionable intelligence. As Highways England chief executive Jim O'Sullivan, said recently on the use of data "What are we going to do with it has become the question, rather than how do we get it." Clearview are here to help; through our DaaS agreements and Insight Data Intelligence Platform we allow our clients to focus on the “What” while we look after the “How”.

What do we mean by DaaS?

DaaS is the term for an agreement where the producer of the data takes full responsibility for the equipment and methods used to collect the data. The consumer of the data pays a fee for access to the data, but has no other responsibilities. Instead, the producer is responsible for installing and maintaining any hardware and software needed to provide access. It is up to the producer to ensure the integrity and availability of the data.

DaaS works in the same way as PaaS, IaaS, and MaaS; the ‘as-a-service’ abbreviation simply stands for something that is provided on a subscription basis. The benefits to this method of procurement apply across services and industries. Benefits include:

  • Avoidance of large upfront capital investment
  • Easier to budget year-on-year
  • Frees up capital expenditure for other projects
  • Ease of data access means users can find the information they need without having extensive knowledge of the underlying data
  • Improved data quality, with teams accessing and sharing the same data
  • Backed up by comprehensive service level agreements, which also delivers expertise of provider knowledge
  • Teams are free to focus energy on immersing themselves in the data and acting on the information provided, rather than managing data collection
  • It presents a clear return on investment argument when compared to managing the entire network in-house

These benefits all apply to the Intelligent Transport Sector, particularly in the context of over 5 years of austerity and local authority budget cuts. Local authorities and highways agencies are working with tight budgets, but still need access to data if they are to introduce congestion reducing and road safety schemes effectively.

Data is at the core of our Traffic Flow, Journey Time Monitoring and Parking Optimisation solutions, but all depend on hardware to generate the data and software to transform this data into actionable intelligence. A combination of inductive loops and vehicle count and classification technology is used to monitor traffic flow, Bluetooth technology is used to provide journey time monitoring, and a combination of inductive loops, bay sensors, Variable Message Signs (VMS) and vehicle count and classification technology is combined to optimise parking. All this hardware needs to be procured, installed and maintained. With DaaS agreements, Clearview Intelligence do all the above, deliver the data, and provide our Insight Data Intelligence Software so end users can transform this data into the insight they need to manage their network or asset.

We’ve been providing journey time data on journey’s across the Dartford crossing for 3 years now as a DaaS agreement. The Dart Charge was introduced in November 2014 in a bid to manage congestion on the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing by operating the crossing with ‘free-flow’ charging. This means drivers no longer needed to stop to pay at a barrier for their crossing, instead they pay online or by phone. To understand whether the scheme achieved the objective of reducing congestion, we need access to data on the journey times to cross the river before and after the introduction of the Dart Charge.

We provide this data as DaaS, which has enabled Highways England to report that average journey times one year after the start of Dart Charge were around 7 minutes quicker southbound and 5 minutes quicker northbound. These improvements were even greater during peak hours where drivers were found to be saving 14 minutes southbound and 7 minutes northbound. These savings occurred despite an increase in traffic of around 4% during the same period. It is only through access to journey time and traffic flow data that such investments can be clearly evaluated in this way.

This is just one example, but the benefits of having access to data without upfront investment in hardware and the ongoing hassle and risks of maintaining infrastructure apply to any Clearview Intelligence solutions where the primary objective is access to data. If you need data on your network or car park, save yourself the upfront costs and maintenance work—talk to us about DaaS.

Author: Michelle C |Date Published: May 2017

Links: Journey Time Monitoring Traffic Flow Monitoring

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