Highways England (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 Advanced Traffic Management System (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.
One of the key issues to solve is to protect the massive investment made in the existing roadside traffic technology installed throughout England and to ensure its effective integration with the ATMS central system.
Nicander have delivered software services to 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 in XML. Nicander software provides 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 change. The interfaces are designed such that TCP/IP messages are sent from the new Instation to a roadside device or another system and received by the Instation from a roadside device or another system.