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Success story

York integrates UK’s first city-wide real-time transport model with PTV Optima

PTV Optima, the software for predictive traffic modelling, has been successfully deployed in the City of York. This is the first real-time transport model to be used for live traffic management in Britain.

The project is part of York’s government-funded Smarter Travel Evolution Program, or STEP. It is led by City of York Council and consultancy firm Wood Group, and in partnership with PTV Group and modelling experts RelativeGAP.

Historically, York managed its live transport network by staff monitoring CCTV and social media feeds, and manually implementing new plans and signal changes. With PTV Optima installed in the control room, operators now adopt a more pro-active approach in monitoring and influencing the network.

York’s PTV Optima real-time model is a rolling live prediction of traffic conditions across the city. It combines offline dynamic transport models with live traffic data to provide the control room with a network-wide forecast of current and forecast congestion.

The model is integrated with over 100 live traffic flow sensors, 100+ live signal controllers, live speed data across the network provided by TomTom, and up-to-date information about roadworks and other network changes.

The live model combines all this data into a single view and a single ground truth. The control room uses this information to see in good detail what is happening across the whole network, and not only in those locations with sensors or CCTV.

PTV Optima also allows the control room to test alternative scenarios for the next hour ahead, next day, or weeks in the future. The city therefore has an operational road modelling asset for monitoring current conditions, planning for the near future, observing how plans play out, and using this knowledge to improve future strategies.

The new strategy and real-time transport model will be actively maintained for at least the next six years – with many possibilities of expansion.

“At this early stage it’s already proving to be a success. We’re able to predict future traffic levels based on our live traffic behavior and manage the flow of traffic better in busy periods by adjusting traffic lights to best suit traffic conditions”

James Guilliatt
Transport Project Manager, City of York Council

The results

Benefit tile Optima signal control traffic lights signalisation

Better management of traffic flow and signal control

Traffic conditions constantly updated and forecasted up to one-hour ahead

Benefit tile Optima traffic alerts forecast

Prediction and traffic alerts before crisis point

Benefit tile Optima interventions

Interventions are made earlier and more effectively

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