HERE has signed a deal with Netherlands-based road safety specialists VIA to provide HERE Traffic Analytics to help power VIA’s traffic monitoring and modelling software, designed especially for government agencies.
VIA has begun using traffic information from HERE Traffic Analytics, a constantly updated database containing more than a trillion GPS data points across 13 countries.
The company’s CEO, Erik Donkers, explains that VIA has been analysing and helping to improve road safety for 30 years. “Initially, police accident reports formed the basis of our work. Then we moved to driver profiles. But when we saw the HERE solution, we thought ‘Wow – this is exactly what we’re looking for’. For the first time, we had actual data from the vehicles on the roads.”
The analytics information allows government agencies to see the current situation: which roads and areas are congested, and potentially take tactical steps to alleviate the situation. “When an incident happens, we can see the impact,” says Erik.
Sometimes, it can create puzzles: “During a study, we found a situation where all the roads were quiet in an area that’s normally busy. We wondered what was going on. It was only later that we discovered that a large truck had overturned and cut off access to the roads.”
The HERE Traffic Analytics database also contains the speed limits for each road, so identifying roads where drivers are moving too fast becomes a simple job. The authorities can see where extra signage or even extra policing is necessary to keep the roads safe. “We can make a map of the city and see actual speeds for that day, every day,” Erik explains.
Road speeds are a key indicator for many factors important for government authorities. “There’s a correlation with road safety, road capacity, traffic noise and emissions.”
On top of all that, historical data across several years allows the road authorities to monitor trends and analyse changes. This includes identifying roads that might soon become problematic if action isn’t taken. It can also identify accident-prone locations: the junctions and stretches of road where something clearly needs to be done to alleviate the risk. What’s more, it’s possible to accurately measure the impact of changes to the road system.
“Six out of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands we are helping have set up a working group to analyse the trends and look for new solutions,” says Erik. “They can also see if any improvements they’ve made have actually helped.”
“With this kind of information, you can improve the world,” he concludes.