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TRAFFIC SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT


ards for trunk roads could take advantage of using IoT type implementations for the technology requirements on highways to reduce the need for elements of traditional ‘heavy’ ITS infrastructure which can be dif- ficult to deploy in more remote locations.


PROTECTING THE ASSET However, with the increasing reliance that will be placed on this infrastructure, the importance of protecting the integrity of its operation is heightened due to the levels of disruption which could occur if it is lost or corrupted. The security issues relate to both the physical assets and the implications of ‘hacking’ the data. The main security issues which equipment in the field faces is van- dalism and theft. Apart from vandalism born from idleness, equipment can suffer from concerted attacks from individuals if they mistakenly think that the equipment is part of an enforcement facility. Theft of cables from duct systems has been well documented over the years, due to the value associated with scrap copper, how-


ever many items which are expensive to replace but have little ‘black market’ value have been stolen. To tackle this, the use of features such as internally locking chamber lids and mounting equipment so that it is high up or hidden within something like a traffic signal head, can make it much more difficult to steal assets. The data being transmitted across the


communications network is more suscepti- ble to security breaches with the increasing diversity of equipment connected to the system. However, the likelihood of attacks affecting the network can be mitigated against by implementing normal IT secu- rity provisions. In addition, in the event of a successful attack occurring, the severity of the consequences can be minimised by an additional layer of defence. The capability to make dangerous alterations to equip- ment such as traffic signal controllers, is obviated by the in-built safeguards this type of equipment has. Unlike the famous sence in The Italian Job, it is not possible to alter a range of safety critical settings


“There is currently an apparent ubiquity of data, with the availability of apps such as Google maps providing users with very detailed levels of information about the state of the highway network


remotely, so that it is not, for example, pos- sible to turn signals to red or green unex- pectedly. This should be a principle which is used across ITS infrastructure wherever safety features exist, to minimise the dis- ruption caused by hacks or accidental set- ting changes.


WORKING TOGETHER There is currently an apparent ubiquity of data, with the availability of apps such as Google maps providing users with very detailed levels of information about the state of the highway network. However, most of these types of facilities do not inte- grate with traffic systems and operate in isolation. Many developers of IoT technolo- gies have come from outside of the exist- ing ITS industry, and use bespoke software or online tools to allow users to make use of the data which their products produce. Also, with the emergence of ‘big data’ it has become commonplace to use analyt- ics tools to extract a meaningful insight to what is occurring. These include Carto – which provides insights that underlie loca- tion based data, Mapbox – which allows visualisations of data on cartographic bases, and Streetlight – that examines real- world travel patterns. Although these types of tools can provide valuable insights to the way in which our communities func- tion and help in identifying causal factors for problems, they do not have a direct method of influencing the operation of the city to overcome issues or to optimise the operation of the transport infrastructure. So how can the disparate data sources


be brought together to influence and inform the ITS systems which operate our transport networks and offer a pathway for additional stakeholders to gain value from their use? The Urban Traffic Management and Con-


 Osprey in action in Leeds www.thinkinghighways.com


trol (UTMC) initiative was launched in the UK in 1997 by the Department for Trans- port. It sought to use modular systems based on open standards to allow highway authorities to achieve their transport objec- tives without being constrained by ‘single source’ solutions. Commercial UTMC prod- ucts, such as Osprey from Mott MacDonald, use intelligent smart mobility applications


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