Work has begun on a data platform to improve transport management across four county councils, with a view to deploying it in other council services and inviting additional local authorities to make use of the resource.
The OneTransport platform will gather data on journeys and traffic flow data from on-vehicle and roadside sensors. Data such as roads to avoid due to roadworks or heavy traffic will be provided to residents in the form of apps and websites.
Suggestions for quicker journeys and routes based on up-to-the-minute data would allow people to make better choices about travel plans and redirect traffic to less congested routes.
It would also enable the council to make better Highways and transport planning choices. Other plans include placement of sensors on council vehicles such as gritting and maintenance lorries to gather data on speed and defects in the road to report them directly back to the council for repairs.
“If you have more up-to-date, accurate data with flow rates, users can plan their journey accordingly”, said David Trousdale, Buckinghamshire County Council’s External Funding Champion Lead Officer.
The Council and its OneTransport partners have applied for funding of up to £4 million funding from InnovateUK’s Integrated Transport Local Authority Solutions funding competition to develop the initiative. Buckinghamshire is leading a group of local authorities – Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire County Councils – as part of a 12-strong partnership that includes companies specialising in machine-to-machine technology, IT developers, hardware providers and a university.
The project is a means to generate income to meet savings targets, based on residents across the four counties signing up to use apps and websites developed using OneTransport data.
While the data will remain open, the council and its partners will make it available to developers who could charge users for use or create revenue from advertising from any app or website they create, Trousdale said. “We’re not obligated to release the entire data catalogue”, he said.
He said that there was also scope to jointly procure contracts with partnering councils who would each have equal access to the platform to make further savings.
If the funding bid from InnovateUK is successful, the project team will invite 15 other local authorities to join the platform in the first year, then 30 in the second year. “Projects like this demonstrate how local authorities can work together to make changes”, he said.
And in future, the platform could expand to include other kinds of data, such as flooding data, for which housing developers, building developers and architects could pay to access.
The result of the funding application will be announced on 19 June.