Prototype Web-Based System Aims to Display Traffic Information to the Public

Operating Systems: Windows
Frameworks: ASP.NET
Technologies: AJAX
Databases: Microsoft SQL Server
As a long trusted partner of the Highways Agency, Zircon’s client have helped to deliver a number of improvement projects on the major road network in England. One of these many improvement projects required the development of a web based solution that was capable of displaying regional traffic information in an easy to read format.

Our client had been appointed the responsibility of managing the process to develop the desired solution; however, they lacked the capability to perform software development activities internally. Through communication with the client, Zircon proved that they could provide the skills and knowledge to fulfil this role and help to alleviate some of the pressure on the client’s shoulders.

The prototype developed by Zircon displays traffic information on schematic diagrams of the motorway and trunk road network via a standard web browser. The network is divided into several nodes and links, which allow users to view more detailed information on specific sections of road.

Planned incidents, such as diversions or roadworks, are displayed as icons whilst speed and journey time information is conveyed through colouring the links to reflect the comparison of incoming data against user defined thresholds. By using this method areas where journey time is out of character for that location and time of day, which will more than likely be an unplanned incident such as a collision, will be highlighted and can be addressed appropriately.

The information used to populate the generated maps was to be sourced from National Control Centre data feeds. In order to obtain this information Zircon developed a Windows service that would download information from the data feeds to be configured into a format suitable for displaying over ASPX pages.

Upon completion of the prototype development, the solution was put through an evaluation period to assess its impact on the RCC and whether it would prove useful to RCC staff. The system users reported that the prototype:

  • Increased the level of intelligence at the control centre through the ready availability of real-time traffic information
  • Improved the management of resources within the control centre
  • Made a marked improvement to road journey times and the reliability of displayed journey time information

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