Case Study

How Immense have been working with Oxfordshire County Council to reduce the impacts of road closures on the local road networks


At a glance

Key benefits:

  • Simple to use user interface for experts and non experts
  • 24 hour simulations not just peak hours
  • Innovative agent based simulation

Key system features:

  • Models the impacts of new road schemes
  • Models public transport improvements (e.g. new bus routes)
  • Models the impact of new park and ride sites, on-street parking spaces
  • Visualises simulation results in the platform
  • Enables scenario comparison

The background

Every week of the year there are numerous traffic management decisions and network planning questions Oxfordshire County Council, and every other council across the UK are having to ask themselves. All these questions have environmental, economic and social impacts and it’s vital that the disruptions are managed effectively.
As a result, transport planners are constantly trying to assess questions like these:

What can be done to mitigate the impacts on the bus networks?

How will disruptions affect the road users, will there be a build-up of traffic?

What will be the effect on emissions?

How can we limit interruptions to the local communities?

How can reducing the speed limit on the roads help?

Over the last few years Immense and a cohort of expert companies have been building a platform, known as MIMAS ( Modelling Infrastructure and Mobility as a Service) to help address these questions and give Oxfordshire the tools to make informed, efficient decisions about their road networks.

The mission

Oxfordshire County Council (OxonCC) required an updated transport modelling system to enable evaluation of ambitious programmes of activity through the 2020s. Their current model and associated data is out of date, costly to apply and limited in use to a small number of individuals. Consequently, using this model is difficult, expensive and time-consuming, with a framework agreement and external consultancy support required to carry out modelling tasks. OxonCC’s ambition was to be able to use a new system in-house and by a wider range of stakeholders. Following extensive review, OxonCC took the approach of procuring an innovative, efficient and cost-effective transport modelling platform though an Innovation Procurement Partnership (IPP) programme.

The required features and functions of the new modelling platform included:

  • Real-time and strategic modelling capabilities
  • Usability – simple front end for non-skilled and skilled users
  • County-wide data and applicability
  • Represent people and goods travelling through the network by multiple modes
  • Solution must benefit users and residents (e.g., inform policy makers)

The solution

The MIMAS platform, which uses the latest data from real world sources gives transport planners the opportunity to test different scenarios, quickly and efficiently in a risk-free environment before they make and deploy a decision in the real world. The platform user can test out different road closure options, they can run scenarios at different times of day, on different days of the week to see how it affects the surrounding road network. The MIMAS platform then provides the user with a detailed report showing the impacts of each of their transport planning decisions so they can make an educated choice about how to act and which decisions to make in the real world.

The results

The MIMAS platform is tried and tested; it has been used by Oxfordshire County Council helping with real world traffic management decisions.

The future

As well as being able to help users assess the impacts of road closures, the platform also has the capability to assess the impacts of proposed planning developments, new bus routes or how to manage parking in urban areas.
Immense and the MIMAS consortium are now rolling out the platform to make it available to councils all across the UK to help support them with their transportation planning requirements.

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