Cast your minds back to the Highways England exhibitions and the grey suited man, Mr. Paul Harwood telling us that the world's biggest lorry park is the only solution to operation stack. Over and over again, the idea was offered to Mr. Harwood that smaller, more manageable lorry parks would be the answer to temporary parking, allied with 'smart' signage. Over and over again, Mr. Harwood said 'it couldn't be done'.
Our Association pointed out at the time that HATRIS could be adopted to manage smaller lorry parks. Mr. Harwood still insisted that 'It couldn't be done',
As Highways England's high level representative, you would have thought that Mr. Harwood would have, at least been 'au fait' with the NTIS. – This is what it does:
National Traffic Information Service (NTIS)
Network Information Services (NIS), a Mouchel and Thales joint venture, operates the National Traffic Information Service on behalf of Highways England. NTIS is the information hub of England' strategic road network.
The £57 million service is based at Quinton, Birmingham and is responsible for providing accurate, historical, real-time and predictive traffic and incident information to businesses, the travelling public and Highways England's operations. It collects real-time traffic information from over 10,000 fixed sites on the motorway and all-purpose trunk road network from MIDAS and Traffic Monitoring Unit (TMU) electronic loops in the road surface and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras at the roadside. Additionally it uses anonymous floating vehicle traffic data (FVD) from vehicles to supplement the fixed traffic monitoring sites. NTIS also has access to nearly 2,000 CCTV cameras, 300 weather stations, 4,600 roadside electronic signs, 16,000 roadside electronic matrix signals and incident data from over 250 operational partners including the police and local authorities.
It then processes this data to create useful intelligence for operational decision making and dissemination of current and predictive information to the public using the 4,600 roadside variable-message signs, the Highways England website (including a mobile version), social media channels such as Twitter and the telephone-based Highways England customer contact centre as well as distributing information to the media and business through a number of data feeds These feeds are widely used by organisations such as the BBC and local newspaper websites for their own traffic information. Services such as Google maps and sat-nav operators also make use of Highways England's data for their traffic information.
And this is what 'HATRIS' does (as stated by Capita group):
Since 2005 our transport technology team has worked on Highways England's Traffic Information System (HATRIS) which is used to monitor and report on vehicle journey times on the motorway and trunk road network. The system enables Highways England and the Department for Transport to identify trends and to design new schemes based on solid evidence of traffic flows.
We are also involved in developing and managing other important high tech schemes used widely in the UK's transport infrastructure, including:
· Active traffic management
· Managed motorway systems
· Road user charging and tolling systems
· Tunnel control and monitoring
· Real time passenger information
· Technology enforcement systems
· Traffic monitoring and control systems.
We have also recently been appointed by Highways England to provide a new asset management system and associated consultancy services for its road maintenance teams. The Streamlined Data Services (SDS) Lite system we're delivering will enable highways maintenance teams to manage their highway technology estate, provide tailored reporting on asset performance, and use their own devices to manage highways maintenance projects by the roadside, increasing efficiency and accuracy of the process.
We think that Mr. Harwood of HIGHWAYS ENGLAND was very economical with the facts.
And do we think that our (so called) representatives really care?