Upgrading traffic management to keep 10 million UK drivers safe

Published:07-05-2020

Upgrading traffic management to keep 10 million UK drivers safe

Although road users may not be aware of it, the maintenance of traffic management software is as vital to safe, smooth travel as surface maintenance. In England, Dynniq enables the safe and efficient operation of a road network serving over 10 million users daily. The company’s Highways England Traffic Management System (HATMS), which has been in use since 2010, has also provided Highways England with major efficiency improvements and cost savings. In the next two years, HATMS is to be replaced by a next-generation system known as CHARM (Common Highways Agency Rijkswaterstaat Model), an upgrade in which we are playing an active role.

Keeping England moving

The Highways England Traffic Management System (HATMS) provides Highways England staff, based in Regional Control Centres, with the facilities to open and close the hard shoulder, set matrix speed signals, set message signs, and monitor traffic flows and congestion levels. Detection points for Motorway Incident Detection and Automatic Signalling (MIDAS) also provide traffic data and incident alerts to HATMS, which result in automatic matrix signal and message sign-setting. Serving over 10 million users using a vast network of motorways every day, HATMS is essential to reducing congestion and making motorways safer in various conditions, such as bad weather. Although less visible to road users, good software maintenance is vital to keeping traffic flowing safely and efficiently.

Efficiency and savings

Since 2010, we have fulfilled the HATMS software maintenance contract for Highways England. Under this contract, we maintain the HATMS central system, which is installed at four of the seven Highways England’s Regional Control Centres (RCCs). We also prepare task proposals, continual improvement activities, site data management, process improvement and quality assurance, offline development and testing facilities, system updates and enhancements, and process improvement and quality assurance. In all of this, we have provided Highways England with an efficient service and quantifiable savings. The levels of system availability have been extremely high (>99.9%) and we have implemented a range of improvements to the HATMS systems, in line with emerging tech trends, such as virtualisation and remote connectivity.

Using Dynniq’s experience to support CHARM

Over the next two years, Highways England is replacing HATMS with a new system called CHARM, deployed by Austrian tech corporation Kapsch. The first RCC is due to be transitioned to CHARM in the summer of 2020, with a rolling programme in place for each of the seven RCCs. We are able to use its wealth of experience on HATMS, along with in-depth understanding of its operation to provide support to Highways England during the transitional period.