The use of technology on roads is, of course, not new. Traffic signals have been connected to traffic management systems for over 60 years, and over that time the technology on our streets has continued to develop and proliferate. In a typical busy street, technology may include street lighting, traffic signals, detectors, CCTV, air quality monitors, public transport information signs, and so forth.
However, a more recent trend is the data connectivity of road users via smartphones and in-vehicle systems which are changing how:
New ways of working need to be adopted to capitalise on these as opportunities to deliver changes that deliver, for example, increased efficiency, cost savings, and better outcomes for the public. These changes are illustrated in the section below ‘How Streets are getting Smarter’.
The rollout of Smart Streets should support the achievement of transport strategies by delivering the following benefits:
This manual provides guidance for implementing and managing Smart Streets. This guidance is arranged into several Smart Streets use cases, each considering an area of services delivered or influenced by authorities. The Smart Streets use cases encompass both services that authorities currently provide and new services that authorities would like to provide.
An example is shown in the diagrams below comparing traditional and smart traffic management. The introduction of cooperative communication between vehicles, user devices, and transport infrastructure allows traffic management systems to provide a better more seamless user experience, operating more efficiently with access to better data, and less reliance on physical infrastructure. Two opportunities created by migration from traditional to smart traffic management are:
However, Smart Streets are not limited to the functions of traffic management, this manual covers the application of smart technology across a wide range of transport services.
This Manual is intended to support Authorities who’re responsible for providing a range of services for streets and highways. It is additionally intended to help the industry to identify and establish opportunities to contribute value in this space, and to develop best practices that support a sustainable and successful smart streets market.
Smart processes include digitalisation where digital information and technologies are adopted to improve business processes. Delivery may include changing processes to make better native use of traditional IT systems and often involves digitisation, the conversion of non-digital information into a digital format. However, there are further opportunities enabled by emerging technologies such as:
Although there are many ways that digitalisation can improve operations and services, doing so effectively often requires the adoption of new philosophies and ways of working.
Capitalising on the opportunities that digitisation and digitalisation offer will deliver benefits, however, the technologies should be seen as tools to deliver the wider desired objectives. The transport strategies being delivered by these services should continue to provide overarching guiding principles so this manual should be used to support the local transport strategies and this Manual, and not be seen as a replacement.
This Manual is designed to help both those who may have deep knowledge in particular fields and those that are new to an area to think about the wider traffic management arena. We recognise that each organisation’s set of systems and processes are different: with different components and suppliers, integrated in different ways to deliver local needs. However, there are common principles and proven experiences that can be shared and provide support on the journey to improve and develop the services.
With this in mind, we have structured this manual to consist of a generic process ‘Service Delivery Lifecycle’ and repositories of knowledge, ‘the use cases’. These concepts are introduced in more detail in their respective sections.
The manual contains use cases that address functions commonly delivered by authorities now, and it also includes specific use cases for connected vehicles.
The manual comprises technical guidance and does not set out any new transport policy or legal requirements. It is not intended to replace any existing technical guidance but will reference that existing guidance where appropriate. For example, Urban Traffic Management and Control (UTMC) will continue for some time to be the go-to standard for communication between the traffic management system and some roadside equipment as well as providing a host of functions for controlling traffic. The boundary of traffic management, however, has now evolved to go well beyond UTMC. The existing UTMC systems will be expected to integrate and interface with the wider network of services and systems to continue to deliver.
The ‘Service Delivery Lifecycle’ follows a journey through the implementation of a generic smart streets project, from conception, through design and procurement to implementation and operation. This process provides the structure for ‘Smart Streets Use cases’.
The use cases in this manual are intended to provide an introduction to the subject and provide links and information to support a more detailed investigation. They are not and cannot be a definitive guide, and the intention is to provide a meaningful but accessible overview that opens the door and enables more detailed resources to be more effective. Where practitioners have specific knowledge or capability that they believe will support others in their implementations, please do share that experience through the publishing of a case study and a process to support this will be put in place.
The approach taken in the development of the manual is to think of traffic management services as being delivered through interlinked systems, a system of systems approach to help understand the whole service. It shouldn’t be necessary for the transport strategist, data scientist or traffic manager to become an expert at individual system design, but it is useful to develop some of this approach to systems thinking. This will be developed further in later sections.