Traffex star wins Highways England digital roads cash

22/07/2019

One of the stars of Traffex 2019's Future Mobility Zone, Costain, has been awarded innovation funding from Highways England for two connected digital roads projects.

The smart infrastructure solutions company was centre stage this spring at Traffex - Europe's largest traffic and transport conference - and gave Highways England's chief executive Jim O'Sullivan a personal tour of its Future Mobility exhibition together with partners Mott MacDonald.

Highways England launched the two competitions, worth up to £20m, earlier this year to encourage innovative ideas to transform and evolve the strategic road network (SRN).

Projects being funded included new construction materials, different ways of tackling air quality and better use of technology to provide people with a range of information.

Having won its share of the innovation cash, Costain will develop leading-edge smart infrastructure solutions that will support Highways England in its modern management of the SRN.

The first Costain project will create the link between digital roads infrastructure and connected vehicles.

Working with the automotive industry supply chain, Costain plans to carry out a pilot to demonstrate the effectiveness of 'an open mobility services platform (OMSP) that will make real-time information seamlessly available to connected vehicles'.

The aim is to enable vehicles to adapt to changes in operating conditions and improve safety, relieve congestion and provide an enhanced experience for the user.

The second project, developed with Vivacity Labs, will implement a modular video analytics solution to optimise Highways England CCTV and enhance operations at regional control centres.

The team will work with Highways England operators, with Costain developing a software platform to manage CCTV feeds and enabling Vivacity’s machine learning software to identify incidents on the road network.

The software is designed to develop the alerts feature and integrate the software with existing CCTV assets, rather than relying on newly installed infrastructure. The appraoch aims to enable Highways England unlock the benefits of this new system for a fraction of the cost, Vivacity said. 

Costain’s head of digital technology solutions, Simon Ellison, commented: 'Connected digital roads and smarter ways of spotting and communicating hazards through intelligent video analytics will have a huge impact on improving road safety, journey times as well as customer experience. These projects demonstrate our digital technology solutions in action to support our clients and enhance road infrastructure.'

Mike Wilson, Highways England’s executive director for safety, engineering and standards, said: 'We are delighted to be able to offer this funding to support ideas around connected vehicles and infrastructure, improved safety, design and construction that reduces cost and delivers more predictable journey times.'

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