The support services
Correctly processing this vast amount of traffic data and making it available is no simple matter. Monitoring quality, managing and maintaining the underlying ICT systems, and complying with international standardisation agreements are just some of the matters to be addressed. One of the major advantages of joining forces in an alliance such as NDW is that none of the NDW partners has to take on all these responsibilities itself anymore. On behalf of the road authorities, NDW facilitates the partners by assuming these responsibilities for them.
NDW entered into a framework agreement with eleven private companies in 2014 for the purchase of real-time traffic information. This provides a way for NDW to issue tenders that are completely customised according to the needs of the particular road authority. Since the public authorities have formed an alliance, they can use the economies of scale to buy at lower prices. The NDW partners can also decide to arrange for collecting the data themselves and then having it entered into the NDW database.
The organisations who are party to the framework agreement offer a wide range of data-collecting services that include the use of mobile devices (smartphones and vehicle navigation systems) and taking measurements with roadside systems such as vehicle detection loops, cameras and Bluetooth sensors.
The NDW partners arrived at clearly defined agreements about the quality of the data. What should always be clear, for instance, is the purpose for which data is being collected; after all, different kinds of criteria are set for data intended for policy making, traffic management and traffic information intended for road users.
NDW monitors these agreements pertaining to quality levels. Action is undertaken if the level of quality is not met or if malfunctions occur. A 24/7 service desk is also available for malfunction reports and requests for support.
The purchase and management of ICT systems
The data chain is actually made up of one large chain of ICT systems. Various parties in the private sector supply these systems and their accompanying services. NDW is in charge of the contract management for the partners, including Europe-wide tendering for new contracts.
A shared data portal
NDW is also the central source of data to be passed on by service providers to their customers. They distribute the data via the internet, radio and vehicle navigation systems to provide motorists with more, better and more up-to-date traffic information.
NDW’s data is available as open data, meaning that it is available to third parties for reuse in their applications. For parties that require more services, NDW offers an Agreement on Mutual Data Provision and Services. Parties involved make record of mutual conformation to data and service deliveries to one another.
Standardisation and transition management
National and international standardisation agreements are needed for the smooth exchange of information between various systems. NDW coordinates this aspect with other parties, participates in decision-making, and also contributes substantially to the development of standards.
Once a new standard has to be introduced, NDW directs this process. In this way, the systems used by everyone in the chain - all the data suppliers, the data purchasers and the central systems - can upgrade to a new standard simultaneously.
The public authorities affiliated with NDW benefit from NDW’s accumulated expertise. Whenever this is lacking, the partners can issue a shared tender for conducting research and/or identifying benchmarks. NDW also develops specific applications for its partners. Examples are a viewer to present the traffic data, and user-friendly reporting software to transform the data stored in the historical database into tables, maps and graphs.