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National Traffic Information Service to move to Azure cloud

23/11/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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National Highways’ National Traffic Information Service is to be moved to a Microsoft Azure cloud platform as part of its Digital Roads programme.

Digital signs on motorway

The agency has said the migration, scheduled to be complete by mid-2023, is taking place under its contract with Sopra Steria to develop a new system for NTIS over the next five years.

It is accompanied by a plan to migrate National Highways’ Smart Motorway Calibration and Optimisation (SMCALO) software and services toolkit to the cloud.  

The transfer from a legacy to cloud infrastructure is aimed at improving the collection of data for real time information to support the agency’s operations team and emergency services in responding to incidents and keeping traffic moving. It will also support providing road users with information on delays and planned works.

In addition, the move will support the creation of a digital twin to map out motorways and major A roads in England and work with machine learning and artificial intelligence systems to predict the conditions of roads up to 24 hours in advance.

The agency’s customer service director Melanie Clarke said: “This ground breaking digital transformation will allow us to make positive changes to the way our roads are run and to vastly improve the journeys of road users both today and on the roads of the future.

“This is a small part of our Digital Roads strategy which is reverberating across National Highways fundamentally changing how our roads are designed, built, operated and used.”

Modelling tool

The work on the SMCALO is part of a £362,000 contract for TRL – the UK based centre for innovation in transport and mobility – to deliver a traffic modelling tool for smart motorways and to optimise traffic flows.

A spokesperson for National Highways said it is currently investigating the best options for a future system.

National Highways Chief Data Officer Davin Crowley-Sweet added: “While today most of our customers are humans informed by data and technology, the increasing amount of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology used in private and commercial vehicles could mean a future of providing data to self-driving systems. We must understand this direction and be prepared.”

The Digital Roads programme is aimed at harnessing data, technology and connectivity to improve the design and operation of the strategic road network.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

 

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