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Injecting Insight into the A69 DBFO

In 1996 Highways England awarded their first Design, Build, Finance and Operate contract to Road Link (A69) Ltd for the A69 between Carlisle and Newcastle.

May 28th

This 30-year contract is funded by Highways England with payments made to the DBFO contractor based on the number of vehicles using the road known as shadow tolling.

On these schemes, traffic counters are deployed to count and classify the vehicles using the route, providing the agency with key volumetric data by vehicle type. This data is then used to inform the payment mechanism by which the maintenance contractor is paid to maintain the road, based on the levels of traffic flow and the volumes of different types of vehicles experienced in a given period.

Historically, data had been retrieved direct from the counters at the roadside, with no ability to access or download this data remotely.

This manual data collection method was a time consuming and expensive process, involving manual checks, exporting of the data and later aggregation of the data once it had been collated. Maintaining this data collection process over 10 site locations along the 52-mile stretch of the A69 became highly inefficient and in some ways devalued the time-value of the accuracy of the classification data it provided.

Road Link recently deployed Clearview Traffic Groups M680 count classifier along this route to provide a reliable and accurate flow of data.

The M680 is the latest model of inductive loop- based count classifiers and comes from the Golden River line of ITS products with a rich 40-year heritage for superior accuracy and reliability.

Since this data underpins the performance measures and payment mechanism for the contract, the level of precision demanded on this scheme is unsurprisingly very high to guarantee that accurate and reliable data is provided.

The traffic data is required to meet the following parameters:

  • 99% availability of data over a 6 month rolling contract
  • 99% accuracy on count data
  • 97% accuracy on classified data

To meet the contractual requirements, Clearview Traffic implemented its cloud-based Insight ITS data management platform, enabling the remote monitoring of roadside devices, as well as facilitating remote data collection and data quality checks, plus user customisable reporting and analysis tools all available from a modern web browser.

Remote monitoring of the roadside device network, alerting users of any fault notifications on the network and the ability to run diagnostics checks are all core functions of the Insight platform to ensure that system uptime can be maximised whilst also minimising revenue loss arising from lack of data.

This early warning capability drives more efficient allocation and deployment of engineering resources to tackle potential issues in a timely way to keep data flowing.

Clearview's Traffic Support Engineers used the in-built dashboard feature within Insight to create a custom view of the A69 enabling them to see at a glance any issues with devices, communications or data quality. Being cloud based, the Insight platform supports customers securely accessing the same information anywhere, anytime providing ultimate flexibility, transparency and confidence in the ITS network.

Data quality is of paramount importance in any shadow tolling scheme and the correlation between the counters and traffic is video verified as part of the payment process. Any irregularities in the data can mean a loss of revenue.

Insight includes a number of tools to check data as it enters the system and warns the user for further investigation if required.

The Insight validation tool analyses data patterns to identify when data differs from the historical data for the same time period. This system will identify anomalies with the incoming data and alert the user through the browser dashboards, e-mail and via instant messaging applications.

The validation tool combined with other data checks ensure that any issues with data quality are highlighted immediately for further investigation and negates the need to manually analyse large volumes of data saving time and money.

The key benefits to the A69 Road Link were:

  • Web based access allowing them to easily oversee the current status of the system
  • Extensive fault alerts to prevent data loss.
  • The move to auto-validation of the daily data allowing a quicker, simpler and more reliable process.

Clearview Traffic began working on this contract with Road Link on 1st October 2014.

Trevor Walker, General Manager of Road Link (A69) LTD, says of the project 'To date the service provided has been excellent and the strict accuracy, availability and Contractual reporting requirements have been achieved without any problems.'

Clearview Traffic currently supply, monitor and maintain ITS systems on 14 of the UK's DBFO schemes including Highways England, Transport Scotland and The Welsh Government, and are constantly looking at smarter ways to use technology and services to support customers.

To find out more about Clearview Traffic, please get in touch here.

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