Mind the data gap: Calls for a national strategy on connected vehicles

 

Gaps in the 'data chain' surrounding connected vehicles are preventing the technology from delivering maximum value for the market and drivers, a new report has argued.

While connected vehicles generate huge amounts of data in key areas like safety and congestion the information is not being fully utilised due to institutional factors including market complexity and a lack of knowledge and strategy.

”Local

Gaps between data generation, collection and use must be plugged, the report argues, as the key 'lies in getting [the data], appropriately processed, into the hands of those taking the decisions' whether that is a driver or teams designing and managing traffic control systems.

Commissioned by the RAC Foundation, the report analysed four examples where data is collected and shared through connectivity:

  1. In-Vehicle Signage (IVS) – displaying road signs and warnings to the driver inside the vehicle;
  2. Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA) – which tells drivers what speed to adopt to pass through the next set of traffic lights on green;
  3. using vehicle data to improve road maintenance; and
  4. using vehicle data to improve traffic light timings.

The analysis concluded:

  • there are often gaps and obstacles in the end-to-end chain from data generation to action being taken;
  • where new services augment existing applications of technology, such as traffic lights, that base technology may need investment to bring it up to standard
  • neither the benefits of the services nor the costs involved in achieving them are yet sufficiently clear and compelling to prompt the actions needed to realise them by the various parties involved.

On the back of the findings, report author Andy Graham called on the Department for Transport (DfT) to develop a connected vehicle data strategy 'to provide a clear plan of what services to deploy, when and why' and evaluate the real-world benefits 'to build and sustain a national business case'.

Government should also 'help tackle the difficulty local highway authorities have in procuring data by running a central national procurement and hosting a subscription hub for data supply' as well as provide cash to boost skills in highway authorities.

The report also calls on authorities to explore using real-time data collected from vehicles, and review the procurement of maintenance services to reward innovation, in particular 'more flexible levels of service using data from vehicles'.

Complexity and practical benefits

Gaps and obstacles were not uniform and instead, 'they tend to involve multiple players rather than having a single owner, and mostly they are not technology-based, but arise from organisational, institutional and human issues'.

However the report also found that targeted applications through existing systems could deliver some early benefits, including:

  • delivering IVS on motorways to provide additional information to drivers on stretches of road between fixed signs and gantries, through working with satnav service providers;
  • deploying GLOSA on a temporary basis for busy heavy goods vehicle routes – for example, to major construction sites (already the subject of a trial at Hinckley Point power station);
  • using data from dashcams and pay-as-you-go insurance to inform many types of highway asset management decisions; and
  • using existing Floating Vehicle Data to improve traffic light timings.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: 'The modern car is sometimes described as being akin to a mobile phone on wheels, such is its ability to receive and transmit information.

'But what benefits might connectivity enable? Location and speed data can enable highway authorities to monitor queuing at traffic lights and retune their timing, while processed images of the road surface and data on acceleration and braking can allow real-time monitoring of road surface condition and thus inform highway authorities’ maintenance and repair plans to save money.

'Tackling these issues now by filling these gaps could be an important step on the way to ensuring highly automated and ultimately autonomous vehicles both generate and receive the data they will need to provide smooth, safe and efficient travel for the road users of the future.'

Mr Graham said: 'The four services I looked at can all use existing 4G communications for ‘good enough’ services and also ‘piggy back’ on one another to increase benefits. We need to combine services as drivers do not know or care about the difference between them. We need to think of what the driver wants first, not the technology definitions.

'The UK leads the way technically in many of the service areas I looked at, especially with new innovations in traffic lights and asset management. But taking these ideas from technical research to wider day to day use by practitioners remains the challenge.' 

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Senior Travel Plan Officer

Somerset County Council
£25,991 to £29,577 per annum
Fantastic opportunity in Somerset to work in our Travel Plan Team within the Highways Development Management service as a... Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Outdoor Learning Assistant

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£11,036 per annum
You will contribute to the outdoor learning programme for a wide range of participants visiting our Centres. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Director of Operations

St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council
£92,968 - £98,282
This role is an opportunity for talented, corporate thinking and grounded leaders to grow personally and professionally in... St Helens, Merseyside
Recuriter: St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council

Principal Traffic Management Engineer

City and County of Swansea Council
£38,890 to £42,821 per annum
You will enjoy an interesting and satisfying work-life with many opportunities to develop valuable skills and experience in the delivery of... Swansea (Abertawe)
Recuriter: City and County of Swansea Council

Refuse Driver (LGV Chargehand Driver)

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22995 - £24258 per annum + plus contractual overtime and allowances
It is an exciting time in Waste and Street Services at the Royal Borough of Greenwich. This is a opportunity to be part of a busy, successful team mak England, London, Greenwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Principal Traffic Signal and ITS Engineer

Warwickshire County Council
£40,876.00 - £42,821.00 plus annual standby allowance of £2,562.84
You will be responsible for the day-to-day operation and maintenance of our Urban Traffic Management and Control System. Warwickshire
Recuriter: Warwickshire County Council

Refuse Driver

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22.995 - £24.258
The successful candidates will work anywhere within the Borough of Greenwich, work outside in all weathers, and be able to use... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Public Protection Group Leader

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£43,857 - £45,859
You will develop a strategic approach to deliver a service which promotes jobs and businesses, protects the safety of... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Project Officer - Air Quality

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£27,741 - £30,451
We’re looking for an additional team member to support the Senior Environmental Health Officers in... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Customer Support Officer

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£25,833 - £29,796 per annum
The successful candidate for this role will be someone who has great administration and customer service qualities, and... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Refuse Driver (LGV Chargehand Driver)

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22.995 - £24.258
It is an exciting time in Waste and Street Services at the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Citizen & Consumer Protection Team Manager

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£41,881 - £46,845 per annum
We are looking for a committed and driven individual to join the team.  You will manage an area team with... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Parking Control Design Engineer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£32.430 - £34.794
We are seeking to recruit an engineer to join our busy and dedicated design team. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Environmental Health Officer

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£33,600 - £45,400 per annum
An opportunity has arisen in the Health and Safety Team, for an Environmental Health Officer / Health and Safety Practitioner. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Cyfarwyddwr Corfforaethol - Economi a’r Amgylchedd / Corporate Director Economy & Environment

Caerphilly County Borough Council
£117,115 - £130,128 p/a
Tîm Caerffili-YN WELL GYDA’N GILYDD Team Caerphilly- BETTER TOGETHER Caerphilly (Caerffili)
Recuriter: Caerphilly County Borough Council

Project Engineer

North Yorkshire County Council
£24,982 to £35,745
We have an exciting Project Engineer opportunity in our Boroughbridge Highways Operational office. Boroughbridge, York
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Asset Commissioning Officer

Somerset County Council
£30,451 to £34,728 per annum
Somerset is a great place to live, work and play, with a spectacular countryside and coastline Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Highway Development Manager

Coventry City Council
£48,545 - £52,090
Coventry is a great place to live and work and it’s getting even better - and having the right infrastructure is vital. Coventry, West Midlands
Recuriter: Coventry City Council

Noise and Nuisance Officer

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£31,434 - £34,986 per annum
We would like you to have some experience in working in Environmental Health so that you can show an understanding of... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Service Manager - Engineering & Project Delivery

Telford & Wrekin Council
£47,853 - £53,792 per annum (including market factor)
Are you looking for a challenge and diverse range of work in your next career move? Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council