MVA Consulting uses NAVTEQ data to improve the reliability of their network-wide estimates of average travel speeds by times of day

The challenge

  • Providing more detailed and precise modelling of travel patterns
  • Calibrating and validating travel models cost-effectively
  • Reflecting real-world traffic conditions at different times of day
  • Reducing the environmental impact of making journeys to establish timings
  • Monitoring changes in road speed data over time

Real-world road speeds without the need for expensive data collection.

MVA refine greener, more cost-effective transport modellingMVA Consultancy, a leading UK-based transport consultancy, is involved in numerous projects that involve monitoring, modelling and predicting the use of transport of all kinds. It helps government agencies, regional and local authorities and commercial businesses to formulate their transport strategy and plan for future infrastructure provision.

The organisation was facing increasing pressure on all sides to come up with more precise and detailed transport modelling, yet also had to deal with cost constraints, and with the need to gather data in the most environment-friendly way possible.

In addition, MVA wanted to find cost effective ways to improve the calibration and validation of various models of traffic conditions – particularly in connection with the traffic component of the national Land-use and Transport Integration in Scotland (LATIS) model.

MVA is also a specialist in accessibility analysis – using detailed local spatial and transport information to compare relative access to services such as education, healthcare and employment. Whilst historically the organisation used default rules for estimating link speeds between given locations, it wanted a more accurate reflection of the impact of local congestion and road geometry.

The solution

  • HERE Premium street-level and inter-urban digital map data
  • HERE Traffic Patterns data on realworld travel times at different times of day
  • Data preparation, support and backup from MAPMECHANICS

The HERE data provides consistent network-wide estimates of average travel speeds by time of day, reducing the errors associated with the use of default speed assumptions.

MVA tackled all these requirements by introducing HERE (formerly NAVTEQ) digital mapping and related data into its planning and modelling system, and chose MAPMECHANICS as its supplier because of this company’s longstanding experience with the product range, and its reputation for service quality and backup.

The consultancy is using two HERE products in combination – HERE Premium, the most fully-featured version of this map data set of streets and inter-urban roads; and HERE Traffic Patterns, which attaches real-world traffic flow rates and speeds to individual segments of road. This data is gathered by HERE from a variety of sources including sensors and GPS tracking of vehicles on daily journeys.

On the LATIS project, previous validation of journey-time estimates relied on undertaking ad hoc journey time surveys, which were relatively expensive. HERE Traffic Patterns saves the need for these surveys, showing recorded speeds at different times of day, and even reflecting the impact of rush-hour traffic on journeys.

On its accessibility modelling work, MVA has found that HERE data enables it to offer more robust accessibility analysis models for the whole of Scotland.

MVA has also been exploring a third key use of HERE data – to monitor road speed data over time, identifying and quantifying the outcomes of initiatives designed to reduce congestion or improve journey-time reliability.

The benefits

  • Consistent network-wide estimates of average travel speeds
  • More granular modelling of travel, taking account of time and traffic conditions
  • Reduction in the need to make actual journeys to record travel times
  • Enhanced validation of travel pattern modelling and accessibility analysis
  • Cost reduction and a “greener” approach to travel pattern modelling

In the past, if we’d wanted this kind of information we would have had to drive the routes ourselves. This is a greener and much more cost-effective solution.

“The HERE data from Mapmechanics offers us real-world road speeds without the need for expensive data collection,” says MVA deputy divisional director David Connolly.

He explains that previous data-gathering methods were relatively expensive, and provided only limited “snapshot” data for specific routes. “The attraction of the HERE data for this work is that they provide consistent network-wide estimates of average travel speeds by time of day, reducing the errors associated with the use of default speed assumptions.”

He adds that when it comes to drivetime analysis, the data opens up new possibilities for validating the model. As the data is collected at 15-minute intervals, it can “slice” the data into very specific time periods.

“In the past, if we’d wanted this kind of information we would have had to drive the routes ourselves. This is a greener and much more cost-effective solution.”

David Connolly sums up: “We hope the use of HERE data will allow us to keep ahead of the game when it comes to modelling current and future Scottish traffic conditions.”