Smart Motorways - A route to improved Journey Times

October 11 2018

Mobile VMS are providing temporary Journey time and diversion route information, displayed by mobile variable message signs in 'real-time' during upgrade works on sections of the M1, M4 and M6 Smart Motorways. We are ensuring the motorist is well informed despite the disruption.

Mobile VMS offer advanced real-time journey time, queue warning, incident management, diversion route information and advance weather warning. Real time traffic data is collected by the quick and easy deployment of mobile traffic sensors, road weather sensors or use of third party data sources such as Highways England’s Datex2 feed, TomTom, Google or HERE. The Highway information is then displayed accurately in real-time on our market leading variable message signs.  Our Current ITS projects include journey time and diversion route provision on the UK Smart Motorway schemes, advance queue warning on key motorway slip roads and advance road weather warning systems.

Smart Motorway upgrades are designed to increase road capacity without the expense and hassle of widening the road, by either temporarily or permanently opening the hard shoulder to traffic. Highways England is responsible for smart motorways in England. Mobile Variable Message Signs Ltd. (Mobile VMS) are currently providing accurate ‘real-time’ journey information along three of Highways England’s pioneering Smart Motorway schemes, the M6 Jn 2-4 Balfour Beatty Vinci JV, M4 Jn 8/9-12 Balfour Beatty Vinci JV and the M1 Jn 16-19 Costain Galliford-Try JV.

These schemes have been designed with the motorist in mind, the overall goal is to cut congestion and increase capacity and safety on the Motorway network. As part of the Highways England (HE) schemes, Mobile VMS are working alongside Tier One road contractors, providing live journey time reporting and critical diversion route information for the duration of the planned upgrade works on sections of the M1, M4 and M6 motorways. This improved real-time driver information offers the motorist journey time reliability, reduces congestion by maximizing available network capacity and offers overall greater network efficiency by arming the motorist and scheme project managers with the information needed to make informed journey or project decisions. Our mobile temporary Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) are providing live updates to motorists and the managing contractors on Smart Motorways and other large roads projects across the HE network. 

Using our unique, award winning JamLogic real time traffic management software, Mobile VMS are providing journey information to the motoring public during improvement works on these strategic routes. Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) are a greener, safer, more efficient approach to traffic management at roadwork's. Mobile VMS understand that journey time reliability, queue warning and alternative route information at roadwork's is key to effectively utilising limited road space, improving congestion and delays. By treating the motorist as a customer and providing enhanced timely journey information via our variable message signs both ahead of and within the roadwork's, we encourage them to drive more efficiently, therefore reducing carbon emissions and the resulting environmental impact as well. Mobile VMS believe the use of advanced real-time mobile ITS technology reduces the impact of roadwork's on both network performance and the environment by better utilisation of road space. More efficient roadwork's can result in a reduction in the environmental impact on the project by influencing driver behaviour, smoothing traffic flow and ensuring works are completed in a timely fashion.

In addition to Journey time, we are also providing accurate and reliable advance queue warning similar to our current project with Kier on the M55, enabling motorists to reduce speed steadily to prevent potentially fatal rear end collisions as traffic slows through works due to reduced road capacity or the movement of heavy work’s traffic. The importance of advance queue warning to motorists cannot be ignored as any rear end collision through works can impact not just motorist safety but the safety of the workers involved in road projects.

As works progress, mobile solar traffic sensors or CCTV can be integrated to provide more detailed data and project overview. These aspects are all controlled and monitored via our JamLogic software which also provides detailed data analysis and reporting (including historical reports and graphical analysis in seconds via the click of a button). All mobile ITS equipment can be moved to different locations to reflect the changing road layout. Sensors and third party data (Datex 2, Tom Tom, Google) then transmit speed, classification and volume data in ‘real time’ to create algorithms which immediately update mobile solar variable message signs, informing motorists of journey time, alternate routes and automated queue warning or incident information. Signs are updated every minute! 

Another key feature of our successful mobile ITS systems is the ability to push/pull real-time traffic data with one or multiple Traffic Management Centres utilizing an API or XML format. This allows sharing and integration of system information with permanent ITS integrations. This is useful in road work zones that they may not have enough sensor coverage or that require additional variable message signs (VMS) to convey key traveler information in areas not covered with overhead Variable Message Signs. The system allows the logging and accumulation of valuable data to ensure the steady flow of traffic through the roadworks and aid Highways England and road contractors / authorities in making calculated traffic management and roadwork layout decisions to ultimately improve the motorist experience. 

Mobile VMS specialise in the provision of proven ITS technology on a mobile temporary basis within road work zones and provide advice during roadworks planning and design phases. Roadworks are often the most critical, due to their unpredictable, non-recurrent congestion and reduced capacity. There is clearly an environmental impact resulting from increased fuel emission due to queuing, congestion and increased acceleration. Mobile VMS believe the use of advanced real-time mobile ITS technology reduces the impact of roadworks on both network performance and the environment, enhancing the motorist experience.

Mobile ITS is a greener, safer, more efficient approach to traffic management at roadworks.   By treating the motorist as a customer and providing timely journey information, we encourage them to drive more efficiently, increasing motorist and road-worker safety, increasing capacity and reducing carbon emissions and the resulting environmental impact.  Journey time information is widely available across the road network but this does not give real-time traffic updates at specific roadworks, when permanent infrastructure has been removed, often for the duration of the works. If we are to improve safety and environmental impact through roadwork’s and provide the most reliable driver information for more efficient journeys and productive road works, with all the associated cost savings, the use of accurate ‘real time’ traffic data should become more of a focus.

For more information on our current ITS schemes (Journey time, queue detection, diversion routes) or our mobile temporary Intelligent Transport Systems please contact Michelle Curran, Commercial Manager MOBILE VMS Ltd. Email michelle@mobilevms.co.uk / telephone 0175303900 / Mobile 07834546680. www.mobilevms.co.uk