Predicting the Top Trends in the Traffic & Highways Industry 2017
Although 2017 is already upon us, it is never too late to consider the trends that could shape our industry over the coming year. The team at Keysoft Solutions, from Boston, MA to Warwickshire, UK have put their heads together and come up with two key themes that they feel will be of significance to the traffic and highways industry in 2017.
#1 Building Information Modelling (BIM)
For those of you in the UK, you will have noticed the volume of industry press and social articles centered on this acronym and its importance for the continuing development and streamlining of construction and visualization. For those of you across the pond, where BIM is in its relative infancy, let’s go back to the start and understand what BIM is.
BIM is a process informed by accurate digital information, it is not, as some would have you believe, a single software system, no one piece of software can make you BIM compliant. Good decisions made throughout the life of an infrastructure asset can only be made if the data on which they are based is accurate. Even when it is time for an asset to be disposed of, if the information is available about, for example, the type of battery used in equipment powered with solar panels, the costs and method of disposal can be predicted and planned. The building construction industry has been a clear leader in the development of digital models that inform whole life costs.
BIM depends on capturing data at every stage, retaining it and moving it along the workflow, for later use. We predict that the recording of this data will see rapid take-up throughout 2017.
#2 Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)
Intelligent Transport Systems rely on accurate data. Systems to crunch through vast data sets, including digital maps, vehicle locations and temporary changes to the road network are rapidly evolving. These systems are always alert, and can provide guardianship over tasks that perhaps we have thought only humans can perform. Take the task of driving for example, those developing systems to automate this will have to grapple with moral conundrums, can software in a driverless car make a ‘least worst’ decision in which one course of action will result in fewer casualties than another?
What will become very clear during 2017 is that taking the human element out can provide a significant safety benefit. It is clear, when collision data is analysed using products such as KeyACCIDENT, that a significant proportion of road accidents involve driver error as a contributory factor. No system devised by humans will ever be 100% safe, however we can expect that the machines that perform the tasks we give them, tirelessly and without distraction, will deliver significant reductions in harm to road users. There are many studies and road trials going on around the world, and 2017 will bring a realisation of this benefit. Once infrastructure managers begin to prove this, the snowball will begin to roll.
While neither of these predicted trends are new to the industry, the focus for 2017 will certainly be on their continuing development and importance in our day-to-day work. We foresee that many more organisations will start to adopt these practices, and 2017 is looking to be the year where real ground is made to cement these into our working processes.