Intelligent transport system (ITS) solutions: Highways Aug/Sept 2013

The intelligent transport system (ITS) sector is one of the fastest growing in the highways industry.

As the number of vehicles using the UK’s roads grows, so too does demand for intelligent transport system (ITS) solutions to help the network operate efficiently.

In his June spending review, George Osborne announced the government’s biggest programme of roads investment for 40 years.  £28 billion of investment, including a trebling of funding for motorways and major A-roads, will lead to the biggest ever upgrade of the existing network.

Long-term, the investment will result in a more efficient road network, and the enhanced infrastructure will have beneficial ramifications throughout the economy.  But short-term, the immediate consequence will be a proliferation of roadworks, the potential for a rise in the number of disrupted private journeys, and an impeded commercial distribution system.

In order to minimise the disruption anticipated, highways managers are looking to a new generation of temporary journey time intelligent transport system (ITS) solutions to provide road users with an effective real-time information service.

A market leader in temporary intelligent transport system (ITS) solutions, Mobile Visual Information Systems Ltd (MVIS) is well  placed to comment on the booming  intelligent transport system (ITS) and signs market.

Said MVIS’ managing director, Tony Price:  “As the volume of traffic on the UK’s road network grows, permanent  intelligent transport system (ITS) solutions are being utilised to help increase the capacity of our highways.

“The M4M5 managed motorway project is one such case in point.  The Highways Agency is working to improve journey times between the M4 junctions 19 and 20 and the M5 junctions 15 and 17, by converting the hard shoulder to a running lane for use during peak periods.

“It involves the installation of an intelligent transport system (ITS) solution including cameras and VMS on gantries, which will be used to vary speed limits and permit the use of the hard shoulder as a running lane at peak times.

“MVIS worked in partnership with Vysionics in the development and implementation of a temporary journey time system to inform drivers of the anticipated delays at key decision points prior to the works area, keeping them informed of journey times and enabling them to plan an alternative route when necessary.

“As the government’s new investment in the roads network comes into force, the demand for temporary intelligent transport system (ITS) solutions, incorporating VMS, will grow, and with this in mind, we’ve developed a new temporary real time monitoring system, the Portable Solar Powered Journey Time Solution (SPJTS).

“The SPJTS was developed in response to interest from a leading infrastructure services supplier, reflecting our ongoing dedication to develop innovative  intelligent transport system (ITS) solutions in partnership with public and private sector traffic management organisations.

“It enables road users to make informed decisions regarding how to minimise journey disruption, warning of delays and advising of their extent, providing users with the opportunity to take an alternative route if necessary, and comprises a range of intelligent transport system (ITS) products, including Vysionics’ SkyHawk ANPR cameras, our new Solar 2012 multi-use trailers and VMS.”

As the demand for intelligent transport system (ITS) solutions grows, so too does the significance of issues surrounding the sector.  Said Price:  “There are many examples of colours other than amber and white being used for road signs around the country.  Chapter 8/MS4 style pictograms incorporating red, white and amber are commonplace in many local authorities and on managed motorway networks, and  A-one+  is currently using our VMS to provide strategic MS4 style pictograms and speed roundels to support A1 Allerdene Bridge northbound refurbishment works.

“Constant advances in LED, battery and solar technology mean that legislation will always be playing catch up with the latest intelligent transport system (ITS) solutions available.  I am pleased to say that In my opinion there has been a noticeable positive change in approach to using new technologies in our industry over the last year. When a product becomes available that can only enhance road worker and road user safety a common sense approach to use appears to be the order of the day.”