The Network Effect – How to Deploy Network Monitoring to Adapt to Changing Transport Environments: TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2024 Retrospective


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With ever changing travel patterns and demand, innovation is critical. Traditional traffic monitoring methods and legacy equipment for data collection offer a limited understanding of road user behaviour and how the transport network is being used.

To help local authorities achieve their Vision Zero and Net Zero goals, having a holistic understanding and view of the network is key. This can be achieved by using accurate, multimodal data, and implementing data-sharing and multi-site data collection practices – the Network Effect. AI-powered computer vision sensors offer a range of real-time datasets and insights.

VivaCity’s Head of Growth and Partnerships, Flora McFarlane, joined us at TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2024 to enlighten us further. Her excellent presentation explored how local authorities are adopting such innovative technologies, and new ways of using transportation data, with use cases spanning Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, West Yorkshire and beyond. Colleagues Carl Pittam (Commercial Manager, Smart Signal Control) and Finn Gemmell (Business Development Executive) added their expert input during the subsequent roundtable sessions.

Presentation highlights:

  • Introduction to VivaCity – Founded in 2015; 120+ team; Working with 120+ authorities; 5,500+ sensors in 10 countries; 20+ unique use cases;
  • Legacy tech provides fragmented understanding – “Traditional tech is not consistent, accurate or able to provide live insights”: Different travel modes (e.g. car, bicycle, walking, scooter) have different data requirements; However, historic, single mode technology such as induction loops/tubes, radar, video surveys and in-person surveys are often insufficient and generate analog outcomes;
  • Above ground- long-term monitoring meets challenges – A flexible, multi-purpose road-user sensor deployed in 1000s of locations across the North of England;
  • The Vision: Insightful Network Monitoring – Accurate data at your fingertips to give a holistic view of the network e.g. Dangerous interactions detected; Congestion alerts; Active travel counts/Modal shift increases; High average speeds reported;
  • Why the Network Effect?
  • Two Major, Modern Transport Predicaments – 1) Fragmented Understanding – Do we understand the multimodal usage and ever increasing demand on the current network? 2) Net Zero and Vision Zero – With competing policy for ‘drivers’ and Active Travel, how can we work to achieve both ‘Zeros’?
  • How do we overcome these challenges?
  • Accurate and reliable insights on how toad usage evolves – 1) Accurate, consistent and reliable data, in an easy to digest format 2) Behavioural insights, how the road space is eing used, including near misses 3) Multimodal classifications beyond just vehicles, including e-scooters 4) Year-round insights, not just seasonal or temporary 5) Flexible, single hardware solution for multiple use cases;

  • Network effects through a 3-in-1 solution for smarter, safer, sustainable cities – Smart Traffic Monitoring; Smart Road Safety; Smart Signal Control;
  • Network deployments meeting multiple challenges – Network Performance; Active Travel and VRUs; Road-Safety Insights; Signal Control;
  • Optimising a network through strategic deployment:
  • Real-time network insights, traffic counts and journey times in Nottingham for Nottingham City Council – Network designed to provide classified Traffic flow/active travel counts and Journey Times for any segment on the ‘Network’ in real time; Charts illustrate real time traffic data by network segment for 9th May, downloaded on 10th May on Wollaton Rd for segment between Russell Drive and Crown Island;
  • Deployment across the region for Town Centre Funding for West Yorkshire Combined Authority – Total cyclist counts on Burlington Lane before and after road changes to help measure effects of City/Town Centre improvements;
  • Consistent data standards in Greater Manchester & Impactful Active Neighbourhood schemes – The share of all journeys taken by car decreased, while the share of journeys by walking and cycling increased. Manchester City Council use case reveals % change in traffic volume by class on unfiltered roads after intervention and modal share (Car, Walking, Cycling) pre- and post-intervention across unfiltered roads;
  • Cycle Counter Replacement Scheme for Liverpool City Region Combined Authority/Liverpool City Council – “The phrase “build it and they will come” rings true. Using VivaCity data it’s been observed that there is a 13% modal share of active travel on developed active travel routes vs. 2% baseline across the region on undeveloped routes”;

  • Facilitating pre-emptive road danger reduction:
  • Prioritise, diagnose and evaluate road safety measures with accurate real-time near miss – Near miss capabilities and insights can be added to any sensors over the air in a short period of time as exemplified by Transport for West Midlands use case of Vehicle <> Pedestrian Near Miss in Birmingham;
  • Using data to meet network needs:
  • Signal control and City-wide rollout – Over 150 Sensors for Leeds City Council, consolidating all other detection technologies e.g. Cycle Detection Zone and High Pedestrian Footfall on The Headrow;
  • How does this all link back to the Network Effect?
  • A flexible, multi-purpose road-user sensor enables: Real-time data – on wide-scale network usage to understand true utilisation; Option to feed data into UTMC – in order to make real time changes to combat congestion; Accurate long term road space monitoring – to guide policy & investment; Low-cost – self-contained comms, easy to deploy and economies of scale upon purchase; Robust evidence base – for business case making for further activity.

If you satisfy our regular delegate qualification criteria but were unable to join us in Manchester on June 6th for the live in-person event at The Stoller Hall, CLICK HERE and complete the short “Download form” (located at the bottom of the post) to receive a unique link enabling free access to the presentation video recordings and slides (including the film footage and slides from Flora’s initial presentation).

Those qualifying to receive the rich presentation content from this event include commissioning, procurement, trialling, partnering and policy leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers, programme managers and planners from local authorities (e.g. city, borough, metropolitan, district and county councils); public transport operators; regional transport partnerships, sub-regional transport bodies, combined authorities, integrated transport authorities and passenger transport executives; highways authorities and road operators; government and supporting national transport agencies; non-governmental organisations; fleet operators, parking operators, prime contractors etc.

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TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2024

On June 6th we will be casting a spotlight over the North of England, hosting our speakers discussions on how the latest digital innovations, strategies and best practices can help overcome the transport and mobility challenges faced by city-regions of the Northern Powerhouse and beyond.


   Manchester, UK

Sponsored by
Nemi Mobility Solutions
Slingshot Simulations
Vivacity Labs

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