Highways England announces simulation and visualisation project

Paul Hutton

Highways England and the Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) are looking for a visualisation and management platform to support operational decision making for incident management.

The TSC has announced that it is looking for 'innovative developers and organisations' to support Highways England’s incident management and operational planning of the strategic road network in what it called a 'significant' tender opportunity.

The winner of the tender will develop a simulation and visualisation platform to support the operational decision making at the West Midland Regional Control Centre, initially focussing on delivering an incident management system for the local and strategic road network within the vicinity of the 'Birmingham Box', which is bounded by the M5, M6 and M42.

The long-term aspiration for the technology is to provide Highways England with the capability to understand the prevailing traffic conditions across the entire strategic road network, as well as the consequences of strategic and operational interventions.

This will provide significant benefits to Highways England and deliver efficiencies in the short-term operation and strategic management of the motorway and trunk road network.

The TSC’s previous phases of the research developed a proof of concept simulation, demonstrating that a large-scale ‘cloud-based’ simulation platform is achievable, and the value of using current state-of-the-art technologies. Key objectives of this contract include:

  • Stage A – Build upon the insights from the previous research to develop a prototype simulation of an incident management decision support system. In addition, develop a spare capacity identification tool which could identify when to change speed limits, deploy ramp metering, alter traffic light sequence, etc.
  • Stage B – Test a number of use cases to demonstrate the usability of the platform, and its suitability for the intended purposes
  • Stage C – User testing, including installation of the software solution at the regional control centre for trials by future users of the system

TSC technical lead Dr Abraham Narh said: 'This project is both innovative and disruptive whilst pushing the frontiers of traffic simulation modelling. It is an excellent opportunity to build of previous work the TSC has undertaken with Highways England to develop a truly world class system for management of the UK’s strategic road network.

'It is unlikely that the existing platforms in use by Highway’s England will be able to provide a step change in performance capabilities in the foreseeable future, so the business who undertakes this work really has a chance to shape the future.'

Full details of the tender, including details of how to apply, can be found here. The application deadline is midday on 8 March 2019.

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