A new in-house website provides a definitive source of traffic data to the public, delivering cost savings and efficiency improvements for the Department of Transport.
The Department for Transport’s (DfT) traffic data is used for a wide range of purposes. It aids local authorities with road maintenance planning, as well as providing the general public with access to data about the level of traffic in and around their local areas. Retailers such as supermarkets and petrol stations also use the data to inform the location of their services.
Until December 2011, the DfT Traffic Statistics team paid contractors to maintain its Traffic Count website, including a digital mapping tool, which allowed the public access to road traffic data. The website, first developed in 2005 attracted around one thousand unique visitors each month; however, the department was receiving many individual requests for information that could not be downloaded from the existing mapping website. With the web-hosting contract for the tool due to expire in late 2011, the Traffic Statistics team took the opportunity to collaborate with the in-house DfT Web team, to develop a replacement website that could utilise the latest web-mapping technologies.
The DfT needed an easy-to-use web-mapping tool that would become the definitive source for traffic data, providing the public direct access to the latest regional statistics as well as allowing them to download the individual raw datasets.
A new traffic count website at www.dft.gov.uk/traffic-counts has been developed by the DfT’s in-house Web team using Ordnance Survey’s OpenSpace API to provide immediate and easy access to data. The website provides Annual Average Daily Flow (AADF) and traffic data for every junction-to-junction link on the ‘A’ road and motorway network in Great Britain.
It allows the user to search, view and download data for every year from 2000 onwards, for each count point on major road networks. It also provides access to view and download published traffic statistics both at a regional and local authority level.
The new mapping tool runs on OS OpenSpace®, a free service from Ordnance Survey that allows users to embed its maps into web applications. It delivers interactive maps that pinpoint traffic count locations across England, Scotland and Wales. This was underpinned with data from OS OpenData™, which allows free access to a selection of the most detailed mapping datasets available for Great Britain.
Collaboration, transparency of information and the sharing of location data are key items on the government’s agenda to promote business growth. OS OpenSpace has enabled DfT to meet each of these objectives, whilst gaining from improved efficiency and cost savings.
- Positive customer feedback since the new tool went live in January 2012.
- Easy to maintain, update and enhance in-house to meet user needs.
- Contributed to savings of approximately £30 000 annually by developing and hosting the website in-house.
- Elimination of on-going running costs.
- Number of unique website users doubled during the first two months.
- Plans to develop the application to include other DfT datasets in the future.