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Mobile Traffic Solutions – The Sign Of Intelligence


New figures show delays on major routes are likely to more than double over the next 30 years

Mobile Traffic Solutions – The Sign Of Intelligence


New figures show delays on major routes are likely to more than double over the next 30 years

Mobile Traffic Solutions – The Sign Of Intelligence


Date: 12th August 2013

The increasing pressure on Britain’s road network is demanding an intelligent solution.

New figures show delays on major routes are likely to more than double over the next 30 years as the number of vehicles on our roads increases.

Forecasts from the Department of Transport say that by 2040 road traffic is forecast to be 46% higher than in 2010 – and that would imply an increase in congestion of around 114 per cent. *

And with congestion already costing the economy more than £4.3bn a year**, keeping the country on the move has become a challenge that can no longer be ignored.

While the government is earmarking significant investment on initiatives including road widening schemes and hard shoulder running designed to ease the pressure, constraints on public funding make it imperative that the industry finds its own way to deal with the issue.

One method that is helping to deliver a clearer future is mobile intelligent traffic solutions.

Intelligent management already plays a major role in ensuring the roads are used to their maximum capacity – and it is set to make an ever greater impact in the years ahead as part of the need for a ‘smarter’ transport network to cope with rising demand.

Portable variable message signs (mVMS) that react to conditions use real-time data to help maintain traffic flow and can be used to display specific information minimising delays or suggesting alternative routes.

They can have a profound effect on journey times – an issue that has far-reaching benefits all on its own – but avoiding those jams can provide significant advantages in other areas too.

Timely messages can help reduce accidents.  Many road crashes occur due to the stop-start nature of traffic in congested areas, but with intelligent systems helping to smooth the way ahead, the number of collisions can be reduced. Traffic can also be diverted away from accidents when they do happen too.

Businesses benefit as road problems can have a major impact on productivity, causing flow-on delays in supply chains and increasing costs.

Intelligent traffic management can also reduce vehicle wear and tear and save fuel. Furthermore, with vehicle emissions increased with stop-start driving, finding a way around the congestion causes a significant reduction in pollution too.

Mobile Traffic Solutions (MTS) has been at the forefront of such technology for more than 5 years.

MTS has developed a range of mobile Variable Message Signs (mVMS) in a variety of sizes. Coupled with complementary innovations like Journey Time Management, using the Smartsensor HD, the T-25 remote platform, ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) and CCTV, MTS offers its customers the complete mobile traffic management solutions.

Their pioneering use of remote operating techniques also enables communications to motorists to be delivered from the office, rather than the hard shoulder.

The effectiveness of an MTS intelligent solution was proved during major projects in Scotland.

Trunk road Operating Company BEAR Scotland completed four major schemes along the M8 corridor near Livingston, all of which had complex traffic management issues.

A bespoke system for managing the flow of traffic through the roadworks was designed and used alongside a monitoring system advising motorists of delays and enabling them to make informed decisions.

‘Real time’ information was displayed locally and live data enabled comparisons to be made with previous traffic impact models.

Subsequent analysis showed using an effective strategy had delivered reduced traffic flows and decreased delays.

The analysis of queues and the hold-ups caused proved particularly key.

Robert Tait of MTS, said: “We used a specialist software program to evaluate delays for the anticipated flow of traffic.

“We were able to adjust our strategy to minimise waiting times and, importantly, we could keep drivers informed – enabling them to take alternative routes.

“We also used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to understand how traffic management was affecting journey times and that has provided benchmark data that will be used in the future too.”

MTS says the other advantages of such a positive approach were several fold.

“As well as wasting a lot of time for motorists, delays can obviously cause problems in business and production too,” Robert said.

“There’s vehicle wear and tear as a result of idling in traffic as well as an increased chance of collisions together with the stress and frustration a jam can often cause.

“The environmental impact is important too and keeping queues to a minimum through the roadworks, we helped to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

“All the portable monitoring equipment was driven by solar-powered, battery re-charged units which didn’t require the set-up of permanent equipment, so it was not only environmentally friendly, it didn’t cost anything to run in terms of electricity either.

“Using this temporary solution meant the usual high costs associated with a more permanent option were greatly reduced and, once the roadworks were complete, the equipment was simply moved to another location for the process to start all over again.”

The contractors were also keen to assess the impact the roadworks would have on diversion routes – something else made possible by MTS journey time management and queue detection.

“Data was collected prior, during and post the works and analysed to show trends,” said Robert.

“The intelligence will be used to help BEAR Scotland improve and develop new initiatives for reducing delays caused by traffic management at road works.

“The use of temporary intelligent systems is still new and innovative, particularly ANPR, but results have shown that, by understanding traffic flow, it can be used to help ease congestion and create a positive outcome for both road users and the environment.

“The more this type of portable equipment is used, the data compiled will be used to drive ongoing use of such systems on a regular basis.

“The government encourage congestion-busting initiatives and those which have sustainable and environmental benefits have to be good for road users and the economy as a whole.”

ENDS

Article written for Highways by Jane Shepherd, Shepherd PR Limited

* according to the  Road Transport Forecasts 2013

Results from the Department for Transport’s National Transport Model

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/225483/road-transport-forecasts-2013-extended-version.pdf

**according to the Centre of Economics and Business Research

Several media publications have referred the £4.3bn figure mentioned and here’s one of the links;

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/9734126/Trafiic-congestion-costs-UK-economy-4.3bn-a-year.html

About MTS

MTS is the premier provider of portable Variable Message Signs and Intelligent Transport Solutions. It is part of Rennicks Group and sister company to Rennicks UK.

MTS and Rennicks UK provide industry-leading solutions across the UK, with innovative and time-proven products, highly-trained staff, efficient service and excellent customer value.

Customers include local authorities, the Highways Agency, Traffic Management Companies, Sign Manufacturers and the emergency services.

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Our ‘Advantage’ range of mobile Variable Message Signs use the very latest in innovative solar technology, making them highly energy efficient.

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