Highways England launches data-led severe weather planning system
Agreement with Civica valued at £5m will combine fleet management technology and weather data to better prepare and manage against adverse conditions on UK roads
Highways England has unveiled a £5m contact designed to make use of vehicle navigation and reporting technology during severe weather cycles to better manage key road networks.
As part of its agreement with Civica, the organisation has launched a new system to help identify and plan for adverse weather to ensure traffic can continue to flow across over 4,300 miles of A roads and motorways that it manages in the UK via improving access to real-time data.
The severe weather information service (SWIS) technology will bring together weather forecast information, as well as road treatment and winter fleet data together to plan road management in a way that reduces the impacts of adverse conditions on traffic.
“Highways England and its partners need access to accurate, robust and timely weather and winter service information to enable them to better manage the resilience of the Strategic Road Network and fulfil their network operator role,” said the organisation in a release.
“SWIS delivers an enhanced, consolidated view of information to approximately 2,000 operational users actively working to manage and improve the performance of the road network in advance of and during severe weather conditions, including winter service providers, maintainers and control room staff, and external parties.”
Highways England weather information services sponsor David O’Connor said the new system would directly aim to address the negative impacts of serious weather conditions on its network.
“We’re improving the user experience through access to consistent and comprehensive information, enabling us to deliver a world class service in relation to managing risk and the safety of the major road network and its users,” he said.
Civica claims that the system has been designed to improve access to critical information that can reduce the risks and costs of maintaining road use.
The project will be operated by its recently acquired IPL division alongside fleet data logging group Exactrak to make use of real-time vehicle tracking and route navigation functions. This is intended to allow for better monitoring of road treatment from the depot in order to support future planning needs.
Back in May, Highways England announced its intention to expand the use of geographic information systems (GIS) with a view to more efficient operations.
Senior analysts in the organisation said at the time that they hoped to expand the role of the technology in its operations, but said more must be done to demonstrate the practical benefits to stakeholders of doing so.