Data is so interwoven to our road operations that it is now as much the lifeblood of our roads as the asphalt itself. Data pivotal to enabling road operators to manage demand across our road networks and to maintaining the roads with minimal service disruption.
Data from in-ground or above ground sensors is used to identify and manage demand at signalised traffic junctions and with modern adaptive traffic signal control systems, this can be used to phase the signals either at a single junction or it can be phased to align with other junctions in the network to control the feed and flow of traffic across the entire local network to minimise congestion and delays.
On key trunk roads and motorways, data is used to monitor the volume, flow, density and type of traffic being seen. This data from sensors such as the Motorway Incident Detection and Automated Signalling (MIDAS) network is critical in alerting operators as to which routes are busy and may begin to struggle unless they do something and identify which alternative routes have capacity that can be used to even the load.
Other sensors at roadside gathering data on traffic provide intelligence that is used to underpin maintenance payments for upkeep of the roads…basing the payment on volume and type of traffic is a much fairer scheme that allows the maintenance contractor to plan their preventative maintenance in advance and has saved the country millions versus the old school way of just paying an annual fee or pay as you go when the road is already in disrepair.
Data from Weigh In Motion systems is also used to protect our most vulnerable infrastructure, preventing unfit vehicles or vehicles that are too large or heavy from continuing on a route that is not suitable for such traffic. In this way, we protect our stunning ageing picture postcard villages for generations to come.
Other data collected at the roadside feeds into centrally held systems that provide journey time information out to websites, roadside LED variable message signs, smartphone apps, radio traffic alerts and in-vehicle sat-nav systems. Putting this data directly into the hands of the road user who can then make an informed decision about their onward journey.
It doesn’t end here. Road users are fed data directly from roadside and overhead signage, road markings and road studs. All of this important data affects the way we drive and that behaviour can be the difference between a safe arrival at your destination and not.
This intelligence from the roadside enables a ‘big picture’ real-time view so that operators can see early indicators of potential problems and intervene early so as to prevent small localised issues from becoming major situations.
The data collected today is about monitoring demand, identifying and highlighting sudden and unexpected changes in demand to keep traffic moving. In addition, this insight can be used for predictive modelling of future demand and aiding future infrastructure budgets and planning. Simply put, the intelligence created from roadside data is there to inform decisions, influence behaviour and make journeys work.
Wayne is responsible for defining the overall strategic vision for the Clearview Intelligence brand and product portfolio. He has nearly two decades of global product marketing experience across a broad range of industries and markets, including both the private and public sectors.
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