Monday Musing: The TRO Discovery Project preparing for a connected and driverless future


TRO Capture


Are driverless vehicles really on their way?

Digital technology and data are rapidly changing the way we travel. Our navigation devices will reroute us mid journey as they receive real time data about the road ahead, so this data is becoming increasingly important. As we move closer to a world of connected and driverless vehicles, navigation and parking apps, accurate real time information about how long you can park in a space, and other things such as temporary changes to road layouts will be a huge part of the data that is needed to ensure a safe and efficient journey, and that means Traffic Regulation Orders need to be fit for purpose.

What is a Traffic Regulation Order?

Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO) or Traffic Management Orders (TMO) in London are a legal instrument and local authorities create them to regulate and implement changes on the road network, from changing features like signs and speed limits, to allowing temporary changes for special events and roadworks.

Tell me more about the project.

The BPA is part of the TRO Discovery Project, a ground breaking project whose purpose is to better understand what people are doing now so that we can make a plan for what work needs to be done to help Local Authorities make their TROs fully digital and machine readable. We’re currently finding out what Local Authorities are doing and what people like vehicle manufactures and delivery companies need in the future.

What is fully digital and machine readable?

Imagine you’re driving but you can’t see the signs or road markings.  Without this information, how would you know where and for how long you can park or whether the road was one-way only or restricted in some way? At some point in your journey you will need know where you can park and for how long. There could be a temporary road closure, and you’ll need to know the exact time it closes and opens again. In the future, all of this information will need to be ‘read’ by the vehicle and transmitted to your vehicle via the in car display, such as the navigation system. The vehicle will be your eyes and ears to tell you what restrictions or parking availability exist, and calculate the most efficient route and place to park, and even pay for it in real time! While that stage seems a long way off, the work of the TRO Discovery Project will help us get there, faster.

So who’s on the project?

The TRO Discovery Project is a unique collaboration between the BPA, the Department for Transport, and GeoPlace. BPA Head of Technology, Innovation and Research Julian O’Kelly is programme manager, Baz Lokat from GeoPlace is project managing and we’ll also be working with Ordnance Survey who have expertise in map making.  Consultant Steve Thompson, an expert in the design of TROs, and Jon Harrod Booth, a digital standards expert, complete the project group line up. The TRO Discovery has three interconnecting projects: user research to understand how TROs are managed across the UK; publication of a Guide to TRO design and management; and development of a draft data model for representing TROs digitally.

Please email if you want more information or to get involved