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On Wednesday 29th November 2023, the AppyWay Traffic Suite User Group comprised of Dorset, Lambeth, Southwark, Kingston, Sutton and St Albans, convened in central London, with Sheffield, Blackpool, Milton Keynes, Cambridgeshire, Haringey and Cornwall joining virtually, to discuss their challenges, the latest news out of government, and to share Digital Traffic Regulation Order (D-TRO) knowledge and learnings. The group’s discussions highlighted the advantages of embracing digital solutions beyond mere digitisation, emphasising the need for a dynamic approach to traffic order management to cater to the needs of different communities. 

One key revelation was the growing reluctance of law enforcement agencies to enforce outdated, text-based moving traffic orders. This shift underscored the urgency for a modernised system, prompting enthusiastic discussions on the efficacy of digital, map-based moving orders. The group resonated with the sentiment that innovation within traffic order management is not just a luxury but an imperative. 

A particular highlight of the session was the spotlight on Traffic Suite’s data output and its potential to support a spectrum of highways and parking services. The councils recognised the far-reaching implications of a centralised, map-based system that goes beyond its immediate application, demonstrating the interconnectedness of various services within the council and traffic order stakeholder ecosystem.

Jess Cutler, Senior Traffic Engineering Tech Officer, from Dorset Council, provided a glowing endorsement, declaring,

Since moving to Traffic Suite, we’ve never looked back.

Such testimonials underscored the practical benefits that users have experienced, solidifying Traffic Suite’s position as a game-changer in the realm of traffic order management.

The user group at the AppyWay offices in London

Interestingly, the discussions unveiled that Lambeth’s adoption of D-TROs was driven by a commitment to innovation rather than a mere pursuit of revenue generation. This move exemplified the paradigm shift occurring in traffic order management, with a focus on efficiency, accuracy, and adaptability.

A significant moment arrived when Paul Chandler, Head of Traffic Management Digital Services, from the Department for Transport (DfT), shared that the alpha phase of the DTRO project had been completed. With beta budget sign-off secured as of November 28th, the group learned more about the alpha phase including the project’s review of a central versus federated service model, TRO data-model integration and validation, real-life service research and prototyping, and the definition of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) scope.

It was clarified that the system would not serve as a platform for creating orders, ensuring a streamlined focus on its primary objectives. 

The benefits echoed throughout the day and were multifaceted. Efficiency, a single source of accurate truth, open data, quick adaptation to changing needs, meeting unmet needs in the data economy, and positioning the UK at the forefront of the future of transport were among the advantages discussed.

The inclusive approach of Traffic Suite, encompassing all new static and moving traffic orders, stood out as a testament to the group’s comprehensive vision for the future. The D-TRO legislation enshrinement due in 2024 reinforced the commitment by AppyWay and the councils to transform the landscape of traffic order management.