Sensors, utilising Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology, help the city of Portsmouth to monitor the road conditions. The solution measures the impact of roadworks and events, and maximise the effectiveness of diversion routes, to ensure optimal network operation.
The city of Portsmouth, one of the most densely populated cities in the UK, has monitored journey times and traffic patterns for the last two years, on the city´s most congested roads. The real-time data has helped traffic engineers to understand traffic flows, improve planning and allow the council to reroute traffic to less crowded routes, preventing massive tailbacks before they form.
To help manage the challenges of optimising and improving the road infrastructure and predict traffic build-up, Portsmouth City Council turned to a mobile technology solution. In 2013, a network of BlipTrack sensors was implemented by VAR Smart CCTV, which also is responsible for liaison with the city and their consultants.
In the years the sensors have been up, real-time travel time measurements and road traffic analysis has been conducted on roads for links to the mainland and the M27/A27 east-west corridor. The collected traffic information, from the 12 cross-city routes, is primarily used for strategic planning tasks, such as identifying problem areas, providing information on the capacity of existing roads and detecting changes in traffic patterns.
The power of the solution grows exponentially with the addition of other sensors, allowing BlipTrack to log individual journeys. It enables calculating average speed, exposing unintended routes with a significant number of cars, using small residential backstreets to escape rush-hour traffic and monitoring when drivers are spending substantial amounts of time searching for a parking space. Ultimately, the data will help to improve the economic benefits through reduced commuting times and fuel consumption as well as reducing vehicular emissions.
Commenting on the solution, Portsmouth City Council Traffic Engineer Lee Gilbert said: “The majority of the Portsmouth residents are not aware how a system like this benefits them, which is unfortunate. The reality is that close monitoring of travel times allow engineers to review routes where slower than expected journey times are being achieved with improvements to be investigated. To date, the solution has been used mainly to the benefit of the traffic engineers in the city to monitor live journey times during major road works and at large scale events such as “The Americas Cup”, “The Great South Run” or “Victorious Music Festival”, each attracting 50,000+ attendees. It also provides traffic data for future planning meetings; view historical data, looking for quieter days/times on the network when planning major road works; and allow traffic engineers to provide clear and understandable data from a 'third party' company to the public, mitigating the risk of any public perceptions that altering of data has been made for more favourable options.
“We consider that the ease of extracting traffic data from the BlipTrack dashboard is significant to see how time savings are achieved. Selecting the required route, date, time, etc. is very straightforward and simple to understand. Regarding cost savings, one of the biggest is made by triangulating three or more data units, allowing multiple routes to be monitored,” said Lee Gilbert, Traffic Engineer at Portsmouth City Council.
“Portsmouth has benefited from the accurate data from the BlipTrack installations with a much-improved understanding of journey times within the city of Portsmouth. Sensors have occasionally been moved to provide data from new sites where data was previously unavailable. This flexibility has also enhanced the level of confidence that the client has in overall product capability. We have found the ease of installation and setup incredibly simple. On average, it has taken 15 minutes or less to install one unit. The solution is very cost-effective, and the filter engine provides a robust method for removing the outlier data sets caused by vehicles stopping at shops, for example. There is no doubt that the solution has provided our clients with a level of confidence in better understanding journey times and hence managing the expectations of the travelling public,” said Peter Eccleson, Managing Director at Smart CCTV.
Preben Andersen, Sales Manager for BlipTrack at Veovo, said: ”We are delighted to be able to gather and provide Portsmouth with reliable traffic data and to be able to optimise processes to benefit the city, its citizens, and ultimately, the environment.”
“In the very near future, following an 18mth monitoring program, we will be making the data available to city employees to use, which will allow us to collect information on how useful the BlipTrack journey time data is to a wider-range group. If positive, then full availability will be made to the public via a link through a new ‘QVision website’ supplied by Smart CCTV Ltd, encompassing live streaming CCTV cameras, roadworks information, and more. This information will be on our website: www.livetrafficportsmouth.com,” ended Lee Gilbert, Traffic Engineer at Portsmouth City Council.
Besides measuring and improving traffic in Portsmouth, the solution is successfully employed in optimisation efforts at the Port of Dover, and in road traffic in Ireland, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Besides, the solution is implemented in more than 25 international airports, including Manchester, Bristol, Dublin, New York, Cincinnati, Amsterdam, Dubai, Genéve, Toronto, Milano, Barcelona, Auckland, Brussels, Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki. In recent years, the solution has also been implemented in ports, train stations, ski resorts, amusement parks, and at events all over the world.
“With BlipTrack we are able to measure the capacity and traffic flow in real-time in and around the area. This allows us to take proactive steps to initiate countermeasures, if traffic build-up should occur. It also helps us to understand various traffic-related matters, enabling us to evaluate and validate existing traffic models and make informed decisions about where to prioritise expansions and optimisations to help the daily commute.”
Traffic Analyst at Trafik Stockholm
“The ability to measure travel times, monitor queues and perform origin/destination analysis convinced us to adopt BlipTrack for the city of Stockholm. It gives us insights on how individual journeys can differ from each other, especially when traffic lights are involved. The ability to measure travel times over long stretches of road, with various queue lengths, and only looking at specific route choices, is another strength of the BlipTrack solution.”
CEO of Trafik Stockholm
“BlipTrack helps Thai citizens to travel home faster during two major traffic events: Songkran and New Year holidays. The system allowed not only road users to decide route choices via travel time info online but also the Thai Highway Police to manage traffic in real-time.”
Dr. Songrit Chayanan
Director of Samut Sakhon Highway District.
“The benefits we have gained from the BlipTrack solution since implementation are very significant. We now discover errors and irregularities that we would not have a chance to see otherwise. In addition, it is extremely educational and easy accessible to study how the incidents of various kinds influence the road network.”
Project Manager at Aarhus Municipality
“The BlipTrack solution helps improve service levels for the municipality commuters. The real-time travel time and wait time information allows drivers to make informed route choices that ultimately distribute traffic and increases the operational performance of the road network.”
Anders Kruse Christiansen
Project Manager at Aarhus Municipality
“Portsmouth has benefited from the accurate data from the BlipTrack installations with a much-improved understanding of journey times within the city of Portsmouth.We consider that the ease of extracting traffic data from BlipTrack is significant to see how time savings are achieved. Selecting the required route, date, time, etc. is very straightforward and simple to understand.”
Traffic Engineer at Portsmouth City Council
“BlipTrack is an optimal solution to perform Origin and Destination studies in major traffic areas. The solution is extremely cost efficient compared to traditional technologies and outstanding in measuring travel times. BlipTracks´s user-friendly analytical tools provide us with a complete overview of the traffic situation”
Project Manager at Dynniq
“BlipTrack is the most innovative solution we deploy. It provides our customers all they need to know about how the streets and roads they are responsible for are operating.
Managing Director at Bandwidth Telecommunications Limited
“BlipTrack has helped us get a better understanding of the dynamic traffic system and provides quantifiable data to support the improvement measures to traffic flows. It allow us to continue to provide a world-class service to our customers and community by efficiently managing traffic flows in and out of the port.” Read more.
General Manager of Strategy and Risk Management at Port of Dover
“BlipTrack provides the Aalborg City Business Association with an in-depth understanding on how people move within the city and measures the economic impact of events. The data allow us to analyze, optimize and improve large-scale events”. Read more
Director of Aalborg City Business Association
BlipTrack provide our clients with an unparalleled range of traffic information. Using the same data, we can provided live travel times direct to signs and phones, identify incidents and delays through to understanding the strategic route choices, origin / destination and changing travel patterns. Read more
Associate at BECA
“The BlipTrack solution is very cost effective, easy to install and commission, and the filter engine provides a robust method for removing the outlier data sets caused by vehicles stopping at shops, etc. BlipTrack has provided our clients with a level of confidence in better understanding journey times and hence managing the expectations of the travelling public.” Read more
Managing Director of Smart Video & Sensing Ltd
“BlipTrack offer accurate, robust traffic monitoring from the busiest highway to city streets, at very low cost and with no traffic disruption. We are seeing tremendous interest from provincial and city road agencies across Canada and in the US as they all seek to immediately better manage traffic throughout their road networks.”
CEO of G4Apps
“BlipTrack give us a unique opportunity to deliver new logistics solutions for the benefit of our customers”. Read more
Chief Technical Officer for the Port of Aalborg