The Department of Transport UK has published its Connected Vehicle Data Research with recommendations that cover six key themes – growing connected vehicle data use, exploitation of national facilities to drive progress, further training and support, making the best use of existing assets, offering investment and procurement advice and service guidance for road authorities.
The report is part of the Future of Transport programme, which aims to shape transport innovation and secure the UK’s position as a leader in the transport sector of the future. The research sets out the potential of connected vehicle (CV) data to improve journeys for all. Anonymous data that was generated by ‘talking traffic’ technology could be potentially exploited by local and highways authorities to reduce traffic congestion, boost road maintenance and improve transport planning – all at a lower cost to the taxpayer.
The Department for Transport undertook extensive consultation and evidence-gathering to understand the current status of CV data use, awareness and perceived barriers. Engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders including national and local authorities, industry bodies, data suppliers, vehicle makers, technology providers and user groups, the exercise confirmed some key challenges to greater use of CV data; some being more perception than reality. As a result, the report explains the current and near-future opportunities for connected vehicle (CV) data to improve traffic management operations and describes a framework for realising the benefits of using CV data, including the appropriate interventions required.
The key conclusions of the investigation and requirements for strategy development uncovered a range of further untapped data than can be exploited quickly to improve roads. Smarter parking, reduced congestion and better information are things that people want and that are already feasible. The UK is leading globally on the use of CV data for asset management. There are also cashable savings to be made in the short term from both smarter parking and asset management. This is a quick win and will provide an incentive for authorities to make the changes required. The research also revealed that a cultural shift is needed, and a commitment to accelerate the use of CV data. Technology is not a key barrier – institutions, organisations and business models are.
While there have been many successful trial projects demonstrating this potential, the next step must be on a much greater scale, with multiple services, deployed on a larger geographical extent and real drivers. Talking Traffic UK would be the catalyst for the ‘at scale’ roll-out of CV data services, building on learning from a successful Dutch initiative. For this to provide lasting results, authorities need training, support and accessible information to upskill, generate business cases for the necessary investment and make the required cultural changes. Focusing this support on the seven CV data services will simplify the CV data landscape and provide a common national understanding of what is possible with CV data.