A partnership between Sagacity and Midland Expressway Limited, the owner and operator of the UK’s M6 toll road (M6toll), will enable seamless access to data, allowing for detailed analysis of traffic patterns and levels, as lockdown eases across the country.
The detailed data analysis will provide insight that can be used across the M6toll business to help assess the impacts of traffic trends and develop products, offers and incentives that provide extra flexibility, convenience and value to customers.
A new Automatic Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR)-based transformational tolling system is currently being trialled with HGV fleets, as part of the comprehensive ‘Road Ahead’ strategy to enhance the road-user experience and transform the existing tolling infrastructure.
To enable Midland Expressway Limited to extract value from its data, Sagacity moved it from a federated, manual approach to a new Data Management Solution for Analytics (DMSA) running on Microsoft Azure. Internal and external insights are now connected into a data mart, with reports and dashboards created on Microsoft Power BI.
“The effective use of data will be increasingly critical as we see a recovery to pre-COVID-19 traffic levels and the lifting of travel restrictions, coupled with the trend for staycations,” says Gavin Revell, CIO at Midland Expressway Limited. “Working with Sagacity to put data to even better use will ensure we continue to develop products, offers and incentives that provide extra flexibility, convenience and value to those using the M6toll. That’s both for regular local journeys, and for the 70% of M6toll traffic that uses the road for travelling through the region. Like any progressive business, we know that data is an asset. By working with Sagacity, we are harnessing internal and external data, making it work even harder for us going forward.”
Sagacity implemented the new system during the first half of 2021, enabling MEL to fully analyze the COVID-19 recovery across the wider network, and the impact this was having on the M6toll. Reporting processes have also been made faster, more accurate and more secure.
The data mart has already been adopted across MEL’s commercial and IT teams, and over the next 12 months the footprint will extend to e-commerce, health and safety and asset management, leading to a more holistic view.
Increasing amounts of external data will be pulled into the system, with intelligence from traffic capture data and Google providing crucial insights over journey times, traffic density and speed and volume of vehicles on the road.
“Now teams across the business will have the power to access timely, accurate insights without needing to always call upon the help of an analyst,” adds Chris Stephenson, technical director at Sagacity. “Increasing numbers of businesses are appreciating the importance of quickly assessing data to monitor trends. Many of them are realizing that in order to gain rapid access and application of data, existing manual processes and traditional methods of data capture are no longer fit for purpose. A digital core connecting all the dots empowers businesses to become more intelligent, think about the bigger picture, stay one step ahead of competitors, and adapt quickly to disruption.”
Images courtesy of David Dixon