York has become the first City in the UK to introduce city-wide real-time transport modelling to help ease congestion and pollution through its Smart Travel Evolution Programme (STEP).
Phase one of the programme, which started earlier this year, involved improving the connectivity and data collection of York’s transport technology assets to future-proof how the City deals with changing demand levels.
Intelligent data exchange
Phase two, in partnership with Alchera Technologies, introduces an intelligent data exchange platform to manage the underlying data structure and provide real-time anonymised data on the movement of vehicles around the City.
Alchera specialises in enabling transport network operators to maximise the operational and commercial value of fragmented mobility data to make better data-driven decisions. Using its cloud-based, proprietary AI software platform ‘Alpha’, Alchera unlocks data-driven decision making across council transport and mobility operations. The technology provides absolute, real-time, predicted data on vehicle and pedestrian movements around cities and major infrastructure.
Alpha takes large volumes of data from existing networks and delivers it to transport and mobility-related applications using advanced machine learning, data fusion and analytics to support a growing portfolio of data-driven infrastructure use cases. Its tech makes this possible at a lower cost, with larger-scale coverage, and with greater reliability than current solutions.
Reducing pollution in York
Dave Atkinson, Head of Transport at the City of York Council, commented: ‘The City of York Council is pleased to welcome Alchera to the next phase of the STEP programme. As a key partner, it will form the foundation for using data to improve journeys and reduce pollution in York.
‘We’re still in the early deployment phase of Alpha, and we expect the platform to be fully enabled by the end of the year. Previously, the council monitored the network through staff checking CCTV and social media feeds, with network monitoring operators and transport engineers manually implementing new signal changes to better manage traffic flow in busy periods. Alpha will be the data powerhouse integrating with cutting edge traffic modelling software to provide network optimisation and predictions.’
Real-time traffic counts
Anna Jordan, Co-Founder at Alchera Technologies, commented: ‘When you are trying to deal with complex, congested cities, reacting to situations in real-time is critical. Our largest system integration combines thousands of sensor sources and performs hundreds of thousands of measurements daily. This represents the only demonstration of absolute, real-time traffic counts and classifications, at a city scale, in the UK today. Data in the system is handled in a fully transparent and auditable way – recognising that data ownership and usage will be critical in future smart cities.’
STEP will also generate a multi-layered, real-time model of traffic, public transport and air quality data, allowing York to prepare for connected and autonomous vehicles.