The “Motorway Box” around Birmingham is one of the most heavily used networks in the UK due to its central location. There are a number of routes into or around the network which can become congested at certain times of the day.
In order to understand the complex movements, Midlands Connect and Mott MacDonald commissioned Tracsis to undertake a comprehensive study using Bluetooth sensor technology to collect data on origin/destination and journey times across the network, including the M5, M6, M6 Toll, M40, M42 and M69 motorways.
Due to the complexities of the road network and available routes, it was not possible to get a true picture of the traffic movement from existing datasets. Bluetooth technology was utilised due to the scale of the sites required, and the relative ease of installation on motorway sites when compared to ANPR equipment.
Due to scheduled Highways England roadworks in the area, timescales were extremely challenging. Also, during a busy survey time, resources were limited. Our client had not used Bluetooth technology before, so we were required to fully explain the strengths and weaknesses of the approach so they were able to utilise the data to its full potential.
From working closely with Midlands Connect and Mott MacDonald, we were able to reduce the scope by assessing and combining sites while still covering the routes required.
With the help of our local contacts, we were able to secure permissions from the relevant third parties and complete the data collection prior to the commencement of the roadworks.
Along with the Bluetooth surveys, 3 day/24 hour control counts were carried out at each site using video equipment. This data was to be used by Mott MacDonald to factor up the Bluetooth sample.
Our advanced Journey Analysis Dashboard was able to process the data quickly and present the data in an easy to use way.
Tracsis provided a series of OD & Journey time matrices from the Bluetooth surveys, utilising the processing algorithms to provide statistical data with different percentile filters, min and max thresholds and merging together of site to provide data for different uses.
All results were provided via our online reporting dashboard with the option to export data into MS Excel compatible formats to allow for further analysis.
The data provided has been used to assist our client in assessing the traffic movements around the network. Without Bluetooth technology, it may not have been possible to undertake the large-scale surveys in the timescales available.
The underlying data can be used in a variety of ways, looking at individual movements, repeat patterns and the effects that any localised incidents have on the local networks. We are working with our clients to add to the dataset by looking to undertake similar studies on the wider area.
This Bluetooth tracking analysis is just one project from case studies in transport surveys and data capture sector carried out by the leading international provider Tracsis Traffic and Data Services.
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