The increasing digitalisation of transport offers many ways to sustainably enhance the user journey – reducing network congestion, improving safety and enhancing our ability to plan trips. Through a connected ecosystem from highway signage to in-vehicle communications, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) deliver real-time information about conditions that may impact traffic flows, from road works and accidents to adverse weather conditions, creating more seamless journeys in a safer highway network.
Beyond the obvious user benefits, the data generated through the connected ITS ecosystem is also a key asset management tool, optimising operations and creating further value for asset owners and operators. Ireland’s roads and light rail agency TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) are adopting an integrated approach to ITS focused on strategy design alongside implementation plans, capitalising on the opportunities unlocked by evolving tech.
Arup’s transport specialists and digital consultants are helping TII to plan and implement a country-wide ITS strategy, exploring the interactions between transport, people, the environment and technology to ensure the sustainable management of the national 100,000km road network. During the five-year appointment, our specialists are also designing the ITS deployment and procurement strategies while developing pilots and trials, as well as providing strategic and technical advice on capital projects.
The traffic data captured by ITS technology will assist with decision making for any requisite upgrades to create a future-ready transport network, making roads last longer by optimising travel routes and alleviating traffic congestion.
5-year ITS strategy
100,000kmof public roads in Ireland
Arup is helping TII to prepare Ireland’s transport network to meet road users’ evolving needs. Developing both an ITS strategy and implementation plan provides a clear sustainable roadmap to enhance our transport infrastructure, which will improve people’s lives and support economic growth. ” Pat Maher Director of Network Management, Transport Infrastructure Ireland
Future-proofing the transport network
Arup’s transport advisory consultants are working closely with TII to future-proof the road network by planning for emerging technologies, like C-ITS (Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems) and CAM (Connected and Automated Mobility). Aligned with the EU’s ITS initiatives, Ireland’s ITS strategy will ensure that the transport network is well-equipped for future developments.
Managing mobility while differing levels of automation co-exist on the transport network will remain a challenge for transport authorities worldwide, as they seek a balance between integrating the technologies that are currently available and facilitating future developments.
Enhancing road safety
In addition to boosting the efficiency and resilience of the transport network, road safety is another key outcome. Using technology to share data across Ireland’s extensive Variable Message Signs (VMS) network about collisions, congestion, speed warnings and weather conditions creates benefits for road users, operators and maintenance staff.
Based on traffic conditions, VMS messages can provide information or direct drivers to change travel speed, lanes or divert to different routes. Take managing incidents as an example, where having the ability to direct vehicles to alternative routes reduces the likelihood of secondary incidents, as well as improving the efficiency of incident response.
To ensure that traffic information is presented clearly and consistently, our digital advisors and transport engineers are helping TII to develop policy guidelines for VMS messaging, with a focus on inclusive design regarding character sizes, colour and number of phrases.
These guidelines will make it easier for traffic control centre operators to effectively communicate with road users, while helping drivers to quickly and safely respond to the information provided.
As well as sharing information with the public, ITS gather vast amounts of data from the network using equipment including CCTV, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and Automatic Traffic Counter (ATC) sites. The information captured provides day-to-day benefits like calculating a number plate’s journey time between ANPR cameras at motorway junctions to share real-time estimates with road users, while also informing long-term transport planning.
As C-ITS continues to develop, digital connectivity between vehicles or between vehicles and transport infrastructure will deliver greater safety benefits, including accident prevention, while optimising the road network through interventions including lane management, variable speed limits or issuing alternative travel routes.
Designing the ITS roll-out
Increasing the quantity of ITS equipment and expanding the range of systems deployed is key to sustainably managing the country’s road network. Arup’s transport specialists are providing detailed design services on multiple capital projects, including on Cork’s N40 national road, where our digital and civil engineers advised on the optimal location for the equipment and managed the installation onsite.
Helping TII to engage with stakeholders, including local authorities and the general public, has also been instrumental to the successful roll-out of ITS equipment nationwide.
Our digital advisors and transport engineers are proud to be partnering with TII to future-proof Ireland’s transport network through this comprehensive ITS strategy and rollout plan, incorporating the latest developments in technology. ” Kevin O’Sullivan Associate Director
ITS equipment: effective maintenance
Combining preventative and reactive equipment maintenance is essential to the success of the ITS strategy. Arup’s transport and procurement experts are helping TII to manage the existing equipment maintenance contract, including liaising with the maintenance contractor, tracking maintenance activities and providing updates on ITS equipment availability.
With the aim of simplifying the maintenance process and ensuring value for money, Arup is also working with TII to manage the procurement process for a new maintenance contract, including mobilisation and transition.
Data insights: enabling seamless mobility experiences
As technology continues to evolve, data will play an even more important role in managing the road network. Arup is assisting TII with numerous pilots, trials and standards development. This includes weigh-in-motion (WIM) systems, which provide accurate vehicle weight data to enable more efficient management of TII’s pavement and bridge assets, and geographic information systems (GIS) strategy development to enable informed decision making and improved collaboration with stakeholders and technologies that use geographic elements. We have developed data insight dashboards from a combination of data sources, including weather, incidents, traffic and VMS messaging. These provide TII with unique insights to improve the operation of the road network.
Our cybersecurity experts carry out periodic vulnerability and penetration testing to monitor and protect TII’s digital assets and maintain business continuity. We also provide data protection advice in relation to GDPR and information security legislation.