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Traffex 2017 – Building Networks, Making Roads Work

So, there it is, Traffex done for another two years. But what a difference two years makes. It was great to see so many local authority customers able to make the journey and give their time over to visit this key event in the calendar. It was also interesting to see the Department for Transport (DfT) and Highways England so visible at the event and to hear about projects and initiatives they are working on. All good strong signs that the tide is turning and if this engagement with industry continues it could well lead to some great innovation that could make a real difference to making roads work.

In the seminar sessions, there was a lot of emphasis on collaboration and many compelling examples of how partnership working is paying dividends both for the organisations involved, their customers and the end users, building stronger networks! Indeed, this was celebrated throughout the event with many exhibitors displaying examples of collaborations that in years gone by would have been thought impossible. The ITS (UK) Awards on Tuesday evening highlighted this further and we were fortunate to be recognised again for the Sheriffhall A720 roundabout scheme . We picked up two great national awards: the Forward Thinking Award and the Scheme of the Year Award for our project to reduce lane transgression on this key piece of road infrastructure, where we worked closely with BEAR Scotland and Amey on behalf of Transport Scotland.

Another key theme of many of the seminar sessions was the future impact of connected and autonomous vehicles. Connected vehicles are clearly the now, very much part of today and the immediate future and so some tangible projects are being undertaken to understand their impact. Some of these focusing purely on connected vehicle features, but others going further and integrating ITS as part of the schemes including the Newcastle C-ITS corridor and the A2/M2 project. The details on autonomous vehicles, however, were notably sketchier. High-level nods to the fact that they are coming, but clear admissions that right now there are still many unknowns; early studies from Atkins commissioned by the DfT suggesting there could be a positive impact, but only once we have high-level penetration or adoption. Still the BIG question of adoption and whether people will want, trust or see the value in this technological advance. Clearly a lot of work left to do in this area to assess these key concerns and engage with industry to see how together we can help solve these problems.

As an exhibitor, the event gave us a great platform from which to demonstrate many of our latest projects and innovations such as our new Machine Learning Loop Detector (MLLD) capability on our M680 and M720 traffic flow counter platform—the first such device in the industry that uses real vehicle data and an advanced set of machine learning algorithms to teach it how to classify vehicles on the road providing even greater accuracy; to launch our new integrated Insight Parking platform that is fully mobile responsive, integrates count data from multiple sensor sources and incorporates real-time alerting as well as easy to use graphical dashboards to provide unparalleled granularity and control over your parking assets; and finally to show off our new Insight Count Station, a compact, self-contained Ethernet powered car park global counting solution that will minimise costs of installation and provide greater flexibility over its location.

The overriding theme we took away from the event was that despite the challenges of funding and resources, there was a definite and very welcome will and determination towards greater problem sharing and collaboration at a local level and that has to be a good thing. It’s at the very heart of how we work as can be seen in our recent corporate video. Building strong relationship networks that will, in turn, strengthen our road networks and make journeys work.

Author: Wayne S |Date Published: April 2017

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