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'Connectivity isn’t just about connected cars'

Transport Technology Forum has played a key role in developing real-time vehicle information services, says RAC Foundation report author

08 August 2023
The National Highways / Transport for
Greater Manchester (TfGM) Off-Slip GLOSA project

 

The UK transport technology sector is playing a key role in developing real-time connected car services that assist drivers, says Andy Graham, the author of a major report on the subject.

Driven by information revisited: Stepping up a gear is a follow-up to a study Graham wrote three years ago which looked at the blockers and barriers to the implementation of connected vehicle services by exploring in detail the development of in-vehicle signing, Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA), using vehicle-generated data to improve traffic light timings, and to improve road maintenance planning.

Andy Graham of White Willow Consulting is the author of reports for the RAC Foundation into the value of data being used to make transport safer and more efficient is praising the value of the Transport Technology Forum (TTF) over the last three years

The new report shows how some of these are now being used in the real world, though not yet at scale, and gives examples demonstrated through Transport Technology Forum events including one at the UTAC Proving Ground at Millbrook which used existing cellular communications to deliver in-vehicle signage, safety solutions, real-time traffic information and GLOSA for signal timing.

“I’m really pleased to see how much of the progression over the last three years since I wrote my original report has been under the auspices of the TTF,” Graham said. “It’s also impressive how so many of the pieces of evidence have come from local authorities starting to use data from vehicles.

“Much of the evidence that we've gathered has been funded by the TTF, with its knowledge sharing. This highlights the value of the TTF bringing people together, and cities like Portsmouth are embracing solutions purely because they have seen them demonstrated through the TTF, whereas in my report nearly three years ago, they weren't even on the radar.”

Graham, who leads the TTF’s Connected Vehicle Working Group, also praised the development of the integrated payment for parking with the impending delivery of the National Parking Platform (NPP), which is also being supported by the TTF through its Smarter Parking Working Group.

“The solutions that are being used are not just things like eCall which is about improving road safety, and are not just about informed drivers but they are also cashable savings through reducing the need for roadside infrastructure such as VMS and from enabling better roads maintenance,” Graham continued. “I also think it is important that my report reflects something we’ve recognised through the TTF: connectivity isn’t just about connected cars, or new cars with connectivity built-in, but about any and all road users – a total smorgasbord from microscooters up to eighteen wheelers via veteran cars.

“The TTF is all about success hinging on a partnership between the public and the private sectors, and nowhere is this this more true than for the wide-scale take-up of the opportunities connectivity offers – opportunities that are there for the taking if the government is willing to focus some relatively modest resources in the right way.”

The report was fully peer reviewed by a range of leading industry experts in different aspects of connectivity, including Paula Claytonsmith, chief executive of the Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG) who brought extensive experience in asset management innovation and local government policy support for the TTF.

“Andy's excellent report for the RAC draws on many projects that have their kernels of origin from the TTF both from its facilitation of ideas exchanged and funding,” Claytonsmith said.  “For example, it’s right that Portsmouth is showcased after being inspired by so many ideas first discussed at TTF meetings. At LCRIG, one of the reasons we enjoy delivering the TTF programme is that it fits seamlessly into our own ethos and activities that support the sharing and learning of ideas and good practice in the public and private sector.  As CEO I support Andy's view that solutions are emerging to support the public sector that didn't fully exist three years ago. I can only imagine the positivity this brings for the next three years of change!”

Driven by information revisited: Stepping up a gear

The full report can be read here

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