CYC currently manages the live transport network through staff monitoring CCTV and social media feeds. The Network Monitoring Operators (NMOs) and transport engineers then manually implement new plans and signal changes to ease network issues. This is a time consuming and mostly reactive approach. CYC would like to adopt a more pro-active approach in monitoring and influencing the network in order to implement policy and incident management plans more efficiently.
Strategic modelling, informing longer term business cases and policy, is currently performed by a separate team within CYC who operate within finite resources. The current strategic Saturn model and associated modules are at the end of their life and need replacing. This combination of limited resources and life expired strategic modelling capability drives the requirement for a replacement strategic model to be built, calibrated, and validated ready for use by the team.
The Transport Systems Team within CYC has a history of endorsing innovation and continually seeking to derive maximum benefit from its existing highway infrastructure. It is within this context that the Smarter Travel Evolution Programme (STEP) began. The project was awarded £2.8M funding through the DfT National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) in March 2018. The project stands out from other funded projects in that STEP proposes making the best use of existing highway infrastructure with predominantly technology, data and modelling based improvements. The majority of other NPIF funded schemes are “traditional” transport infrastructure schemes including road widening and junction improvements. Therefore STEP needs to be delivered with minimal research and development activities, to minimise risk and focus on achieving clear benefits.