What a Year!
2020. The year when “what day is it” hit an all-time high, and we lived through truly unprecedented times. Mike Guerin hosted a webinar recently with Subu Kamal and Christopher Kettell talking through this year from the perspective of the transport industry, and a look to the future. 2020 has been focused on our core mission; making roads safe, clean, affordable, liveable and efficient, and it has very much directed the projects we have worked on this year;
Road Safety in 2020
From road safety’s perspective, it’s been a very interesting year with more clients adopting iMAAP as a subscription service. We saw “new category of clients”, not just Local Authorities starting to use iMAAP. This increased adoption of iMAAP has meant more number of people using the solution, more customer engagement and this leading to new value propositions and new features. All of this we expect to continue into 2021.
Because of COVID-19, we have been able to invest more time to product development, and we’ve got some compelling new features that clients like Ministry of Defence and Insurance Agencies are adopting to manage their road safety risks. The MoD have had a full-scale roll-out this year, replacing their paper-based forms, Excel sheets and different access data systems. They are now using the platform to chart any accidents for any of their vehicles globally. The deployment of iMAAP has meant that time recording crash data has gone down from years to a matter of minutes now. As a result, the effectiveness of actions taken based on this “instant and relevant” data is more focussed and clearer to all stakeholders than ever before.
Getting value from existing infrastructure
We have been focusing on what good looks like and building that into our products. This has really come into play with SCOOT® 7. Over the years, the industry has had a lot of ideas for development in SCOOT that haven’t been taken up. We have taken those ideas and built on them. For us, it’s about the vision for what SCOOT® should, and can be; its data. At its core, the most valuable thing SCOOT® produces is data. There is a lot of talk of new, or more data improving our roads, but we want to focus on maximising the data that already exists. SCOOT® 7 opens up the data and helps us get the most value possible from it. As Christopher Kettell puts it; “when you ask a fundamental question of, are we making the best use of the data available right now? I think the answer to that has to be no”.
Unlocking the potential of data
Part of unlocking data saw us launch our UTC, Powered by SCOOT® 7 this year, and particularly exciting was the deployment for transport for Greater Manchester. It wasn’t just successful because we successfully deployed our brand-new UTC, but also because of the value to the client and other stakeholders.
The basic objective behind the project for TfGM was not to just deploy UTC, but also to open up data so that third party applications and new innovations can be built based on this data, which was previously locked behind the previous system. At the same time, they also ran the latest version of SCOOT® and tested its capabilities. The TRL Software team did a brilliant job in getting this project up and running without fault, meaning the UTC has now been proven without any breakdowns and is as solid as any other solution you would expect from TRL.
With our UTC came the real-time open data portal where users can consume real-time data for other applications which had fantastic uptake from the community. At present, we have nearly 15 different users/organisations using the data to build new applications, and we have seen some fascinating use-cases for things such as noise and air pollution. Overall we are really happy, and we’re looking to expand the current deployment in 2021
Collaboration: Alan Turing Institute Partnership
A personal highlight for our Chief Technologist, Christopher Kettell, was entering the strategic relationship with the Alan Turing Institute. Alan Turing Institute is an academic body and is the government centre of excellence for all things artificial intelligence. Essentially, it is a cross selection across UK academic Institute’s and the brightest minds. As a result of the partnership, we are now part of the Turing intern network, and we currently have two doctoral students with us working very hard on two research projects, and we cannot wait to share progress.
Collaboration: Smart Mobility Living Lab
Smart Mobility Living Lab is essentially an advanced test bed using public roads in London to develop assess evaluate new technologies. We have built this test bed as the infrastructure investment roadside equipment that provides everything to create this bird free, real world environments for technology, validation. All in one place. The purpose of this is you don’t have to replicate the build, you don’t need to find the funding to build your own version.
Looking to 2021
2021 will see some major product investment and releases. “One of the products that we have been heavily investing this year, as part of the strategy, is our road asset management product; iROADs… The launch of the new generation iROADS is something that I’m really looking forward to next year. The focus is not to build “another pavement management software” but first-in-the industry solution for managing Digital Roads.” Watch this space!
We are also launching Junctions 10, which is a key milestone for us. Junctions is an industry standard amongst the users, and it has been over two years since a major release, so Junctions 10 will be the next generation that will bring it up to the standard Traffic Engineers need to maximise their work. It has been totally transformed in terms of usability; new features, new use cases, new modelling features, and the ability to collaborate between consultants and Local Authorities. The virtual launch will be a hands-on demo with Product Expert Jim Binning, and you can sign up for it here.
“I’m looking at the state of technology products, the massive changeover of licencing, models, options, modularity in everything that sits with that, it’s very easy to become frustrated with seeing the same drum being banged again, again and again. Or you can put the frustration aside and say, here’s how it should be done, here is what good looks like.”
2020 saw the start of it, where TRL Software is focusing on doing the work, and collaborating across the industry. This will continue into 2021 as we push innovation.
Ensuring we can continue to deliver future mobility solutions is key to us. “Everything that we see and test in SMLL, will be pulled into the roadmap for our UTC, Powered by SCOOT® 7 … and is pushing towards the future. We are very well placed to not just talk, but actually deliver results when it comes to data connectivity and machine learning.” 2021 really will be the year of future mobility.