Highways England deploys real-time journey information VMS on its largest scheme


The first intelligent transport system (ITS) solution enabling real-time journey information to be displayed on portable variable message signs (VMS) has been deployed on Highways England’s largest scheme.

Mobile Visual Information System’s (MVIS) Datex Journey Time Solution (JTS) enables an average of 85,000 drivers daily, who use the 21 mile (33km) stretch of road involved in the £1.5bn (US$1.9bn) A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon upgrade scheme, to navigate the roadworks easily and efficiently, minimizing journey disruption.

The A14 Integrated Delivery Team (IDT), working on behalf of Highways England, contracted MVIS to deploy its largest Datex JTS to date, which incorporates 26 VMS. The Bartco UK VMS-Cs display journey times from their locations to the end of the affected stretch of road, informing drivers of the predicted journey duration and, where possible, enabling them to select alternative routes.

The journey times shown are calculated using Datex II actual time journey time data collected from in-vehicle sensors and relayed by the National Traffic Operations Center (NTOC). These times are renewed every five minutes. The messages displayed replicate precisely those shown on Highways England’s fixed signs, promoting better continuity and ease of motorist interpretation than has previously been available, when information featured on temporary VMS has not been generated by NTOC.

Due to finish in 2020, the scheme includes a new bypass to the south of Huntingdon, carriageway widening on the existing A14 between Swavesey and Girton, and improvements to the Cambridge northern bypass. It also includes junction improvements, the widening of the A1 trunk road between Brampton and Alconbury and new local access roads. The existing A14 between the Ellington and Swavesey junctions is to be de-trunked, the viaduct over the East Coast Main Line railway at Huntingdon removed and road connections to the existing A14 from within the town modified.

The A14 IDT’s project director, Mark Berg, said, “MVIS’ pioneering DATEX JTS enables us to provide accurate and easily interpreted journey time information to drivers as they navigate the stretch of road on which we are working. Together with Highways England, we aim to optimize road users’ experience and this new solution is helping us to achieve that.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).