Network Information Services Traffic England
Nicander supported and enhanced England’s National Traffic Information System for NIS (Network Information Services – a joint venture between Thales and Mouchel) that provided traffic information on behalf of Highways England (HE) to millions of road users using England’s 4,300 miles of strategic road network every day. This system was replaced in late 2015.
The system monitored the performance of the network through traffic detectors, CCTV and weather monitoring (including fog sensing) systems. Additional information came from, and was exchanged with, HE’s on-road traffic officers, police forces, local highway authorities, contractors, leisure and entertainment venues and weather centres, in all a total of over 250 operational partners. This information was analysed alongside data concerning planned and unplanned events, and a GIS-based database of the core HE road network which contained detailed physical descriptions and theoretical capacities. The system was operated 24/7, all year round.
The original system was developed by Serco to support HE’s main goals of reducing congestion and improving journey time reliability. The National Traffic Control Centre (NTCC) itself was officially opened by the Transport Minister at Quinton in Birmingham near junction 3 of the M5 in March 2006. The NTCC building consists of two rooms with a host of redundant computer equipment which is based on PC and Windows NT technology.
Ongoing enhancements of the system were crucial to the effectiveness of the NIS service, particularly through the roll-out of Managed Motorways, and Nicander worked closely with NIS to ensure all existing and new service requirements were delivered by the system in accordance with strict performance requirement parameters.
- Provision of high quality information to road users to support journey planning and on-route adjustments resulting in improvements in safety and journey time reliability
- Delivery of a robust, efficient, effective and reliable information service enabling effective decisions and informed choices to be made by drivers, passengers, HE and many other stakeholders
- Enabled approximately 4 million customers daily, to arrive at work on time, have goods safely delivered to their front doors and local supermarkets, visit friends and relatives and travel to holiday destinations
- Strategic diversion and information plans effectively implemented via information dissemination on up to 2800 signs, the trafficengland.com website, smartphone apps and the media
- Reductions in congestion, wasted time and fuel usage resulting in less stressful drivers and passengers
- Internet users planned routes based on readily available incident data, up-to-the-minute traffic reports and known network trends
- The exchange of accurate and timely information with maintaining organisations, HE regional control centres, police and other highway authorities, regarding planned events/incidents and incident response and management
The NIS system supported Highways England’s capability to:
- Collect data about traffic, planned events and current events
- Process this data to give a real-time national view of traffic conditions on the motorway and trunk road network
- Assess the impact of events and traffic flows so staff could make decisions on the best response
- Put those responses into action, including dynamic signing of traffic diversions and dispatching HE traffic officers to deal with incidents
- Publish traffic and event information through; roadside electronic message signs; HE website, for the public; the Atlas service, aimed at business, professional and media users; web services that are used to provide live content for hundreds of local media websites and for use in social media; mobile devices such as smart phones; industry-standard data feeds for re-use, for example traffic information on Google maps
- Provide real-time traffic information to the travel news media for broadcasting on national and regional radio and television
- Provide information for HE and others to assess the overall performance of the strategic road network