Nicander have been contracted by CGI (with Kapsch) to design and deliver interface software modules as part of the CHARM Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) for Highways England (HE).

HE is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the English motorway and trunk road network. Since 2011 they have teamed up with Rijkswaterstaat in the Netherlands in order to develop requirements and procure a new generation of traffic management (centre) systems. Highways England’s network is some 4,300 miles long and is made up of motorways and trunk roads. The network is managed through a National Traffic Information Service (NTIS), which supports the National Traffic Operations Centre, and seven regional control centres. Traffic Officers attend an average of 850 incidents a day on the English motorway network.  Approximately 25 per cent of all congestion on England’s motorways is caused by road incidents. The new ATMS will enhance the services provided to HE Traffic Officers, with the aim of cutting congestion by focusing on these incidents, reacting quickly and effectively with appropriate measures, and getting traffic moving around them as quickly as possible.

The English strategic road network is equipped with an extensive array of kit from variable message signs, speed and lane control signals, journey time and CCTV cameras, ramp metering, incident detection and traffic monitoring units, through to equipment like emergency telephones, tunnel systems, meteorological and environmental devices.

This technology is being utilised and delivered as part of the Smart Motorway programme which uses active traffic management (ATM) techniques to increase road capacity via variable speed limits and hard shoulder running at busy times and certain sections are now all-lane running (with no hard shoulder). Smart Motorways are delivering significant benefits including smoother traffic flows, more reliable journey times, fewer road traffic collisions, as well as reductions in noise pollution and harmful vehicle emissions.

Nicander will supply software which is key to successfully integrating the new Kapsch ATMS central system with the roadside traffic technology installed throughout England, as well as linking it to NTIS and Urban Traffic Management Control (UTMC) systems.

CHARM’s architecture can be categorised as being layered: it consists of Data, Domain and Presentation Layers, supported by System Management and Security Layers. The Domain Layer contains applications that provide Business Logic functionality and applications (components) which provide services to each other (component based architecture). These applications provide the following capabilities:

  • Event Detection and Definition Management
  • Scenario Management and Execution
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Prediction
  • Control Room Resourcing
  • Management Information
  • Contact Relations Management
  • Computer Aided Dispatch

Nicander will be responsible for the production of five software services, which will essentially route data messages to and from roadside devices and other HE systems. The new CHARM ATMS solution uses an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) that has an intermediate store, the Canonical Data Model (CDM) in XML.  Nicander software will provide the effective translation between this model and the HE’s roadside equipment and systems, whilst continuing to use their current message structures (TCP-IP, XML/SOAP Web Services, FTP), to enable existing devices to operate without the need for changes or updates.


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