The Ministry of Infrastructure wants to increase the traffic flow. And liveability of the road network. This requires smart traffic management and smart traffic centres. A new, innovative ICT platform will help us with this. Technically speaking, CHARM replaces 30 applications but that's the boring answer, I would say. The less boring answer is that CHARM will help us redesign traffic management properly in future. Several systems are end-of-life as it's called. This means that it's increasingly expensive to maintain them. So they need replacing. This is initially a bigger investment. Once you have it, it's easier to maintain and you can add extra options more easily because it is all standard. This urgency is required for the goals we have in mind with CHARM. Smart vehicles are being introduced, smart infrastructure is being introduced. The question is how to implement it to increase safety, traffic flow and liveability. You're not there with smart vehicles and smart infrastructure alone. This requires smart traffic management which you need smart traffic centres for. We are working on it as CHARM. Our work becomes more complicated and we have a lot of manual work, the way we work now. We sometimes do things double, so we need a lot of people for the work we do. We hope with the new system to do more with the same number of people we have now. We already have an iPad that supports us in our work. Later with CHARM, we'll have an app where we can share live information with the traffic centre. Now we don't always have an overview of all the measures on the road. We can find out by contacting the traffic center, but with the app we have immediate insight. An important advantage of CHARM, is that traffic centres can help each other. With the new system we can take over each other's work when it’s busy. We can't now and it's a bit scary as people will have to operate in unknown territory. One platform with one log-in for full access would be ideal. It would save time. When it's busy, the log-in system is overloaded or it crashes. As we have multiple screens and multiple systems that aren't linked, we have separate keyboards. Sometimes you grab the wrong mouse as you're focused on the screens. You reach for it, but it's the wrong one. This causes delay, but later with CHARM things will run smoothly. It would be a huge asset for us. We need to pay less attention and focus more on primary processes to ensure the safety on our roads. In recent years, the Ministry of Infrastructure has become more and more a data-driven ICT company. ICT is becoming more important as a whole and in particular for traffic management. It's a growth sector, data for mobility. In the past we only had loops and traffic cameras along the roads but nowadays apps. All these apps provide information. Telling us where a car is driving, how fast it's moving, providing many new insights. And CHARM is ready for all these new developments. The developments we're facing are that we're doing more and more with data. We're collaborating with authorities, market parties and network partners. We're making our assets smart and connected. And we want to influence the behaviour of the road user in a positive way. It has to be a proper collaboration with a good data stream among one another. I see that my employees are increasingly focused on data. This means more developments in this field of expertise and in our focus. We're working with Highways England who have also bought the product. We learn from each other as it's a challenge to implement it in the next two years. It’s good to hear from different angles of how the CHARM program is viewed. What’s going to happen is exciting. I think we can be proud of all the work we have done together. We can support each other with what is needed for CHARM and that's great. One platform with one log-in for full access would be ideal. I'm looking forward to it. It's a great development. I can't wait. We're preparing today's traffic centres for the future. Within Europe, our traffic management and our main road network belong to the absolute top in Europe and we can be proud of that.
CHARM is the programme that will help Rijkswaterstaat to continue to shape traffic management in the right way in the future. It is a smart ICT platform which will be used in the traffic centers and along the road by on duty road inspectors and officers.
In 2018, the traffic control center in the south of the Netherlands is the first that switched to the new platform. The other traffic centers will follow. The new platform offers:
- Better support for road traffic management and the possibility to work more efficiently (do more with the same number of people).
- Flexibility: a good basis for applying innovative traffic management technology.
- Scalability: traffic centers can expand the area (road network) and users.
- A significant reduction in management and maintenance costs.
CHARM is important because of the reliable and efficient road traffic management, as well as affordable management and maintenance of the systems. Due to the intensive use of our road network, the demands on traffic management in the Netherlands is high. In the past this has led to a stream of technical extensions, often in separate customized solutions. As a result, we now have to work with 30 different systems in the traffic centers. This is inefficient and expensive to manage and maintain. It is difficult to change something, because the systems form a kind of spaghetti. The work pressure is increased by the increase in the area.
'CHARM will help us to continue to shape traffic management in the right way in the future'
In the CHARM programme, Rijkswaterstaat and Highways England are working together on future proofing traffic management. Both want to work more efficiently and flexibly in their traffic centers with the same number of people. In the CHARM programme (2015-2020) they are working together on implementing an existing traffic management platform: Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) DYNAC from market leader Kapsch TrafficCom.
Rijkswaterstaat and Highways England want to significantly improve traffic management with innovative functions. The market does not yet provide these functions and they therefore have been developed in the CHARM PCP (Pre-Commercial Procurement) project. External companies with specialized were asked to develop prototypes for innovative modules in the areas of incident detection, network management and in-car systems. In the meantime, six pilot modules have been completed (they are not yet on the market) and work with the new traffic management platform ATMS DYNAC.
'You are not there with only smart vehicles and smart infrastructure: that requires smart traffic management. You need smart traffic centers for that, and CHARM is working hard on that'
The current Rijkswaterstaat scope of the CHARM programme covers all regional road traffic control centers and traffic centers in the Netherlands and the approximately 300 future users. This includes road traffic controllers, road inspectors, civil servants and operational traffic experts. The new platform will connect to the existing roadside systems. In time, the platform will offer the opportunity to support the operation of tunnels, with which an even greater efficiency gain can be achieved.