News | 22 Jun 2021

Road safety gets real-time boost in West Midlands

New system using Vodafone’s network provides fast and accurate travel data updates that you won’t find anywhere else.

A new road safety system providing trustworthy, real-time information to motorists is being tested on the open road in the West Midlands.

The ‘cellular vehicle-to-everything’ system (C-V2X), developed by Vodafone, Nokia and Chordant, sends the latest information about lane closures, speed restrictions and traffic incidents from participating local road authorities to motorists’ smartphones.

The C-V2X system’s ability to deliver timely, highly localised road safety and traffic data, from authoritative sources such as Transport for West Midlands and Highways England, sets it apart from existing systems that tend to rely on crowdsourced data.

As the information is delivered through apps, it’s more accessible than possible alternatives, such as electronic road signs for example. Such signs often aren’t visible to most drivers and can only display truncated snippets of information – limitations that don’t apply to motorists’ smartphones.

Project testers in the West Midlands trial area will use a special app to receive the road safety information. There are plans to give software developers the necessary access so information from the C-V2X system can appear in existing, popular mapping apps.

Wisdom of crowds

But there is also a role for crowdsourced data in this system.

Such data from the app will be processed on Vodafone’s Edge Compute platform using cloud computing technology from Chordant and Nokia. That data would then be used by public authorities, such as Highways England, to more monitor traffic conditions more accurately and decide what to do in response, such as set dynamic speed limits, for example.

Transport for West Midlands has plans to use data from the system to ease congestion, develop more advanced services for motorists as well as to inform its transport planning. The system will eventually spread to the rest of the UK as well as other European countries.

The C-V2X system is a result of the Midlands Future Mobility Initiative as well as the Connected and Automated Mobility Testbed UK, projects that enable the development of new technologies that will be critical for connected and self-driving vehicles.

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