The main objectives of road network monitoring can be summarised as follows:
Each objective is realised through various solutions, including the application of ITS technolgies.
Network monitoring is expensive. When considering the provision of monitoring systems it is important to establish the key purpose of collecting specific information and to design systems accordingly. Depending on the local context, information may be needed on a variety of factors – such as traffic and weather conditions, incidents and other road and highway status alerts – in order to provide intelligence for network operations activities, traffic control and information systems. Other examples are:
Managing events on the road network in real-time requires the means to detect and rapidly assess any situation that is potentially problematic as soon as it arises, with reliable procedures for a quick and suitable response.
To carry out these tasks, the desk operators must:
Analysis of the situation must have regard to:
This task demands major efforts to develop systems that capitalise on and disseminate past experience. Crucially it requires good staff coordination to avoid instances where staff work at cross-purposes during an emergency.
All the organisations and agencies that have a part to play in the network operation will have an interest in network monitoring activities. In planning, designing and allocating resources to the network monitoring system the equipment, information systems and operational procedures need to be specified in line with the coordination arrangements. In particular, when multiple partners are involved at the operations centre a flow of command needs to be established in order to ensure smooth implementation. (See Operating Agreements)
Agreement on operational procedures is especially important when the data being monitored are used for enforcement purposes. Usually, network operators do not have the power to actually catch or rectify the offending situation even when it is necessary to do so in order to ensure a smooth operation. Close planning and cooperation with enforcement agencies are critical. (See Enforcement)