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Thursday, 23rd April 2015 - 12:00

ITS United Kingdom makes Awards for excellence in Intelligent Transport Systems


ITS (UK), the Intelligent Transport Society for the United Kingdom, has made four Awards for excellence in ITS:

The Rees Hills annual award for outstanding personal contribution has been given to Allan Hill of Transport Scotland (pictured with Steven Norris).

The Scheme of the Year award went to Higways England’s free flow charging at the Dartford Crossing.  This Award was collected by Nigel Gray of Highways England.

The Forward Thinking award for innovation was made for the Contactless Bank Card Payment on London Public Transport Network.  This Award was collected by John Hill of Cubic.

The Young Professional of the Year award went to David Currie of Mott MacDonald.

The awards are open to any organisation or individual with a UK business office.

The nominations were judged by an eminent panel of ITS professionals chaired by ITS (UK) President and former Transport Minister, Steven Norris.  The Panel Members were:-

Professor Nick Hounsell, University of Southampton

Fraser Somerville, Atkins

Neal Skelton, ITS United Kingdom

Mike Water, Transportation Professional magazine

Jackie Davis, Bristol City Council

Helen Blood, Imtech Traffic & Infra

The Awards were presented by Steven Norris at the ITS United Kingdom Traffex Dinner at the NEC Birmingham on 21 April.


More details about the award winners:

1.  Young ITS Professional of the Year

David Currie, Mott MacDonald

Joining Mott MacDonald in 2006, David has quickly established his capabilities in the ITS field. David is now technical product manager for Mott MacDonald’s Osprey UTMC system, and has significantly contributed to its success both technically and commercially. As project manager, he has been responsible for the initial and ongoing delivery of Osprey to a number of clients. Such clients have included Transport for Greater Manchester, Leeds City Council, the City and Council of Swansea and Durham County Council.

David made a significant contribution to the successful delivery of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Mott MacDonald was appointed to provide the technology system, Merlin, to support the Transport Coordination Centre. David played a key role in winning this work, contributing to the written submission and to the tender presentation. Following successful award, David then took on the role of project manager for the software delivery. David successfully delivered the first phase of the software to an extremely aggressive timescale, deployed within 6 working days of contract award. David subsequently delivered further iterations of the system to the client’s complete satisfaction, and to budget. The system was successfully used by the TCC team to manage transport throughout the Games, and contribute to the overall success of the Games. Subsequently David undertook a joint presentation describing the success of the TCC at the ITS UK Local Authority Urban Interest Group in September 2014.

In 2014 David also played a key role in Mott MacDonald’s successful bid to Transport for Greater Manchester. Once again, David contributed to both the written and presentation aspects of this tender.

Overall, David has shown a technical and commercial capability in the ITS arena which exceeds that typically seen from someone of his age.

2.  Neville Rees and Peter Hills Award for outstanding personal contribution

Allan Hill

2015 is a landmark year for Allan Hill. It marks over 25 years at the heart of ITS development and excellence in Scotland – but also his retirement.  Allan is a passionate advocate of ITS and supporter of ITS (UK) in Scotland. His ten year stint heading up the Traffic Scotland Service has raised the bar for network operation and traveller information services in Scotland, and because of his tireless efforts, ITS is now viewed as a vital component of every major roads project promoted by the Scottish Government.

Three significant projects delivered during his time with Transport Scotland mark Allan out as a deserving candidate for the Neville Rees and Peter Hills award for outstanding personal contribution:

Traffic Scotland Web Service Improvements

Allan’s efforts have been core to Traffic Scotland’s web service developments, which have been recognised as market leading and European award winning.

Development of New Traffic Scotland National Control Centre

The innovative Traffic Scotland National Control Centre was collaboratively designed to provide state of the art facilities that support the provision of new and enhanced service delivery to many customers.  Allan led this collaboration and a difficult systems relocation – whilst keeping the day to day service running.

Roll Out of ITS on Forth Replacement Crossing Corridor

The Forth Replacement Crossing is Scotland’s biggest transport infrastructure project in a generation.  The project helps to regulate and manage the flow of traffic on approach to and across the Forth Estuary, through deployment of ITS to create an integrated ‘Managed Motorway’ corridor. Allan played an integral role leading the design, delivery and the operation of this new technology.

3.  Scheme of the Year

Dartford Free Flow Charging

The Dartford FreeFlow project is an excellent example of how ITS services and technology can raise efficiency and provide a better user service while also cutting costs. 

Commissioning an innovative transport scheme is rarely straightforward even when it is completely new infrastructure.  But the Dartford project was far more complex as the existing ‘stop-and-pay’ charging process had to remain operational with four lanes open, and traffic safety maintained, while all its hardware was removed to clear the paths for the new all-electronic FreeFlow scheme.  It was the transport equivalent of open heart surgery but with the patient awake throughout. 

The multi-year project went live in November 2014 and to the original budget.  As a result of extensive user contact in the months before commissioning over 0.5M accounts were transferred or opened and already 1.3 M vehicles are using the system via accounts that mean they do not have to remember to pay.  Initial compliance by drivers started at 85% and is rising steadily as they adjust to the new methods.

Under the overall umbrella of the Highways Agency team the project has seamlessly integrated Freeflow roadside technology for charging and enforcement and a Back Office with linked website for accounts, payments and registration (both from SANEF ); a call centre, with state-of-the-art voice recognition and information dissemination by Twitter and Facebook customer channels; and roadside gantries and a complex and innovative traffic management cell to ensure safety and that overheight vehicles are correctly channeled ( from Connect Plus).  PA Consulting provided client-side technical advice.

The scheme was seen by Ministers as a way to ease a notorious bottleneck and the results are already obvious: a typical bridge transit is now 6.5 minutes faster on average, representing for the 43M vehicles a year that use the crossings an overall time saving of over 500 years.

4.  Forward Thinking Award

Contactless Bank Card Payment on London Public Transport Network.

Transport for London (TfL) and Cubic Transportation Systems’ contactless bank card ticketing scheme has revolutionised the way people travel around London. Since contactless was extended to all modes of transport in September 2014, its popularity has surpassed all expectations. More than 50 million contactless journeys have now been taken across the network, while more than half a million contactless journeys are made every weekday.

The experience of regular commuters has been significantly enhanced by removing the need for to make any sort of purchase transaction. Regular users no longer need to worry about topping up their Oyster card or waiting in lengthy queues to top up at busy stations or kiosks. Furthermore, by enabling some non-UK issued contactless bank cards on the system, TfL and Cubic have made it easier for foreign visitors to travel through the city.

The partnership between TfL and Cubic required innovation at a global scale and a readiness to engage with the mobile payments ecosystem to create and implement a transit transaction model, solving the principles of using contactless bank cards on transport. The success of contactless in London has led to the wider acceptance of contactless across the board.

Photos by Marcus van Lyden

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