Monotch and Nodeon enhance C-ITS data exchange in Finland

Dutch and Finnish smart mobility specialists Monotch and Nodeon have recently signed a partnership agreement for the deployment of C-ITS in Finland. With this collaboration, both parties underline the importance of data exchange via V2X platforms which provides many benefits for the stakeholders in the C-ITS ecosystem. By teaming up for the Finnish market Monotch and Nodeon are able to further promote the benefits of the TLEX I2V software platform, which is based on open European standards (ETSI, C-Roads, NordicWay, etc.) and to enhance it by incorporating new functionalities, payloads, and interfaces. The partnership will offer Finnish road authorities excellent opportunities to adopt the V2X platform for the Finnish market and deploy the C-ITS services to their fullest potential. The C-ITS services being rolled out in Finland range from Traffic light priority, to Traffic light optimization, to Real-time information services for road users.

Further enhancing the TLEX data exchange platform
Monotch provides data flows via the TLEX platform by connecting traffic light controllers and other roadside equipment to service providers, the automotive industry, road authorities, emergency services and ultimately road users. TLEX I2V is an example of a highly scalable system that is specifically designed to send and receive massive volumes of data with ultra-low latency. The ready-to-use technology with available interfacing and various protocol options is applied in the nationwide UDAP platform initiated by the Dutch Talking Traffic programme, in InterCor, Concorda and in the NordicWay3 project.

This perfectly matches with Nodeon’s familiarity with the Finnish traffic sector; in-depth knowledge of technological traffic systems and extensive knowledge and experience of data communication. Nodeon’s overall design in smart traffic projects often includes the integration design of electrical, automation, data communication, tele and safety systems as well as lighting. The combined market-ready solutions will make a significant contribution to traffic flow optimization and real-time information to road users. Both companies believe that collaboration is essential for the further rollout of C-ITS technology and C-ITS data exchange services.

It is clear that the deployment of ITS systems and data exchange via V2X platforms provides many benefits for the stakeholders in the C-ITS ecosystem. Road authorities are able to improve traffic flows and road safety and prioritize certain road users. Hereby freight traffic, emergency services, public transport and cyclists can be given priority over other traffic at traffic lights. But more importantly, the platforms are used to inform road users real-time.

As International Business Developer, Gary Lin, explains, Monotch has found the right match in Nodeon to make TLEX I2V the first-choice platform for I2V in Finland and to promote the Talking Traffic concept in Finland. “We will share experiences from C-ITS deployments in the Netherlands and implement them under new specifications and architectural set-ups that differ from our previous deployments. We are both confident to deploy the TLEX I2V platform in Finland, find pilot customers and realise the benefits of C-ITS services.”

Joined forces for further C-ITS roll-out in Scandinavia
“Monotch has gained a lot of experience in the field of data exchange in several European projects. If we can combine this with Nodeon’s expertise in implementing smart traffic projects, both parties can strengthen each other. We have been around implementing intelligent traffic infrastructure since the nineties and have influenced the development of ITS solutions and systems in our markets. For us, C-ITS is a natural path to leave a mark on the development of the ITS sector and next- generation ITS solutions. I believe we can be an excellent deployment partner for V2X platforms in Finland”, argues the Nodeon director of sales, Aapo Pöyhönen.

Menno Malta, CEO of Monotch, is also very pleased with this new partnership. “With TLEX we have assembled a neutral, open interface solution that supports the multi-vendor C-ITS eco-system including use-case tooling and KPI’s. We look forward to working with Nodeon to enter the Finnish market and cooperate closely to implement TLEX in C-ITS and Smart City projects in Finland and add new specifications.”

About Nodeon
Nodeon is a Finnish technology specialist with key expertise in smart traffic solutions and is especially active in the urban and inter-urban environment where it provides traffic flow solutions as well as traffic safety solutions. This varies from pre-designed ITS systems to system delivery and maintenance services including automation, electrical and telecommunication designing, system integration and software development. Its core expertise is the implementation of distributed data collection and device management solutions for infrastructure varying from sensor technologies, data collection and data communication solutions to industrial automation processes, as well as centralized data management systems and data analytics. Nodeon is active in Finland and Sweden.


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Successful launch of the Dutch Urban Data Access Platform

With a successful go-live on the 5th of January and three well-attended information sessions in early 2021, the Urban Data Access Platform (UDAP) has officially been launched. All road authorities and certified service providers in the Netherlands can now use the numerous data services of the new national data platform, which was developed as a data exchange point in the Talking Traffic chain on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. In recent weeks, all intelligent traffic light controllers (iTLCs) have been linked to the platform. In the coming years, that number will increase further and other objects will also be connected to UDAP, such as bollards, sensors, and measuring systems for tire pressure and height clearance. Thanks to the ultra-fast data exchange via UDAP, intelligent infrastructure can make an important contribution to traffic flow, road safety, and sustainability in the Netherlands.

What do the initiators say about UDAP?
As initiator and client for the development of UDAP, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management expects UDAP to bring benefits. In particular, the Ministry expects a more efficient flow of traffic and further development of information services for road users. In addition to the data exchange, useful functions have been added to UDAP such as quality control, quality monitoring, a link to other objects besides iTLCs, and a function to define the policy rules for vehicle priority. “In the coming year we will not only gain more insight into the data exchange with intelligent objects and the impact on traffic flow but also, for example, for applications for road safety and sustainability,” says Vincent Habers, Senior advisor ITS and responsible for the implementation of UDAP on behalf of the Talking Traffic partnership.

Monotch provides the data link for UDAP, the in milliseconds reliable exchange of intelligent TLC data and vehicle travel data. Menno Malta from Monotch explains how this platform works: “UDAP receives data from various roadside systems, regardless of the supplier, and automatically sends this data to the road authorities. Conversely, UDAP also receives (anonymised) travel and vehicle-related data from road users. In addition to the use of the TLEX I2V software platform for UDAP, we monitor the quality, security, and privacy of the data exchange. The status of all data is made transparent in dashboards. As of the 1st of March, road authorities will proactively receive notifications and advice for follow-up when the connection to the linked objects is lost. For questions about UDAP reports and protocols, road authorities can contact a special helpdesk that is also supported by the traffic managers of MAP traffic management (MAPtm).”

MAPtm, a company specialized in operational traffic management, assisted Monotch in setting up the quality controls of the data. Together with Monotch, they also formulated the performance indicators for all intersections in the Netherlands. These performance indicators are continuously monitored via UDAP and revised every six months. Where necessary, MAPtm also provides road authorities with traffic engineering support for the Information, Priority, and Optimizing services via UDAP. MAPtm’s Nuno Rodrigues, states that the more iTLC and vehicle data are used, the more impact we will notice on the road networks.

Direct added value for road authorities
During the information sessions, road authorities, service providers, and suppliers of roadside systems had the opportunity to already get acquainted with the data services and linking options of UDAP. They are enthusiastic about the possibilities, as UDAP now offers them extensive monitoring and reporting functionalities with information about the status and data flows of the connected roadside systems. Road authorities are especially happy that everything is organized on a single platform.

According to Jaco van Veldhuijsen, Smart Mobility project manager at the Province of Utrecht who also participated in the test before the delivery of UDAP, the convenience of having everything in one place and with a direct view of all connected objects and data flows is a gigantic step forward for road authorities. “In this way, we keep an eye on and keep control over the traffic flows in the region and we immediately receive notifications in the dashboard when something goes wrong in the data exchange. Based on the advice received following the report, you can then find out where the data flow is stuck. It is also possible to adjust the priority regulation ourselves and in the event of calamities and road works we can also intervene in the system and pause the connection for example.”

Slim sturen over het netwerk met behulp van TLEX
Succesvolle lancering Nederlandse Urban Data Access Platform

Smart routing over the network with the help of TLEX

In the ‘Slim sturen’ (Smart Routing) project from SmartwayZ.NL, road authorities and technology vendors are informing service providers about applied traffic measures. All with the aim of having more influence on traffic flows and providing road users with even better information. By providing them with accurate and up-to-date travel information service providers are able to inform their users about adapted driving routes in case of accidents, major events and work activities. Monotch plays an important role in realizing the technical data chain. For the TLEX platform not only collects traffic-related information and prepares it for distribution, but also supplies it to service providers who are able to process the provided information in navigation applications and disseminate it among (road) users.

Collaborating in the traffic chain
Unique in this project is the involvement of industry parties who mapped the entire data chain up to and including service providers. Under the banner of SmartwayZ.NL, Altran, Goudappel, MAPtm, Vialis, Scenwise, Monotch, Be-Mobile and Innovactory jointly developed a Proof of Concept in which all involved data chain parties have carried out tests in the cities of Breda and Roermond in order to offer a complete information flow. This involved digitizing the information, as well as the technical chain tests and ultimately setting up a working digital network vision.

By using the TLEX platform, Monotch provided combined static information (defined traffic scenarios according to the network vision) and dynamic data (start, upscaling, stop of scenarios) accompanied by a traffic management context, enabling navigation providers and service providers to supply better travel advice. This means that road authorities have gained more influence on the traffic flows.

Digitizing a network vision
The ‘Slim sturen’ (Smart Routing) project is also related to digitizing the network vision of road authorities. With the project road authorities would like to optimize their ‘desired’ use of the road network by sharing information. By sharing the desired result of the traffic control scenarios – which measure is used, where and when – but above all by sharing their network vision. The network vision also forms the basis for traffic management measures that are used to keep traffic flowing. Service providers can thus inform road users about the use of traffic management rules and advise on the most socially desirable routes, for example in the case of road works, events and accidents. In this way, the service provider is able to support the road authority in realizing its policy goals.

This “underlay” for navigation systems gives service providers an insight into the desired use of the road network and therefore lays an important basis for suppliers of navigation software in including the network vision into their maps and travel information services. With the ultimate goal: realizing safer traffic and a better flow of traffic.

For more information about the ‘Slim sturen’ project, you can watch the Dutch Smart routing animation.

Monotch wint Europese aanbesteding voor Nederlands Urban Data Access Platform
Slim sturen over het netwerk met behulp van TLEX

Monotch wins European tender for Dutch Urban Data Access Platform

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has selected Monotch as supplier of a nationwide C-ITS platform that will provide data exchange between road users and roadside systems such as intelligent traffic control systems, barriers and sensors. The C-ITS platform, called UDAP (Urban Data Access Platform) will make an important contribution to traffic flow, road safety and sustainability in the Netherlands. In addition to the delivery of their TLEX I2V software platform Monotch will also be responsible for overseeing the quality, security and privacy of the data exchange.

National data platform
At the end of September Monotch signed a 4 to 8-year exclusive contract with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management for the data services. All intelligent traffic light controllers in the Netherlands will be using the new platform, which will be fully operational from January 1st 2021. UDAP receives data from all kinds of objects (regardless of the supplier) and delivers this automatically, but conversely also receives (anonymised) travel and vehicle-related data from road users. UDAP uses TLEX, which was previously applied in the Innovation Partnership Talking Traffic. The data collection and exchange via UDAP is of important added value for both road users and authorities, as well as for knowledge and research institutions.

TLC use cases immediately live
Right from the start in January 2021 the TLC (Traffic Light Controller) use cases ‘informing, prioritizing and optimizing’ will deliver major benefits for municipalities and road users. Such as informing road users (Information service), in which data from TLCs can be used to inform and advise road users about advisory speeds for a green wave, time-to-green and time-to red e.g. Or prioritizing certain road users (Priority service), whereby emergency services, freight traffic, public transport and cyclists can get priority at traffic lights. But also optimizing traffic flows (Optimizing service), where data from vehicles is used for traffic control, so that traffic can flow more smoothly over a longer distance and on larger parts of the road network.

Further upscaling
The number of connected intelligent TLCs will be scaled up nationally in the coming years. In addition, other types of objects are currently being linked, such as tire pressure measurement systems, bollards and sensors incorporated into the road surface. Many thousands of objects will be connected within a few years.

Reliable, fast, safe and clear
To the core task of UDAP, the in milliseconds reliable exchange of intelligent TLC data and vehicle travel data, four important extra functions were added, namely: quality control, quality monitoring, a link with other objects and a Priority Broker Configurator function. The status of all data is clearly displayed in dashboards with, among other things, the status of the connected objects, the extent of data exchange, tests whether a vehicle is authorized, and real-time reports on use cases.

Vincent Habers, who supervised the European tender on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management for the public-private partnership Talking Traffic, indicates that Monotch already has a great deal of experience in working with intelligent TLCs. “With UDAP we will go one step further with the service. We expect that UDAP will immediately yield benefits for traffic flows in many municipalities and that a range of different service providers can develop all kinds of useful in-car information services based on the data”.

Dynniq en Monotch gaan partnership aan
Smart routing over the network with the help of TLEX

More flexibility in messages, message types and interfaces

Additional TLEX I2V 2.0 “bits and pieces”
In addition to the surveyable dashboards and KPIs in the renewed user portal, the TLEX I2V platform also offers additional interfaces, can be adapted to various message types and has recently been expanded with standard-compliant messages such as ETSI messages and upcoming C-Roads standards.

TLEX I2V 2.0 offers additional interfaces that can be adapted to various message types and has standard-compliant messages such as:

  • AMQP1.0 available as an additional interface (in compliance with upcoming C-Roads standards);
  • Support additional message formats such as DATEXII;
  • Addition of new message types such as new types of ETSI messages.

This way the platform offers even more flexibility in messages, message types, and interfaces. Consequently, a multitude of use cases can be supported by the platform.

There are also additional options for configuring access to certain objects and data flows. Road authorities and other owners of roadside systems can now define their own access policies and link them to their systems. Through these policies, they can determine which parties have access to the data of their objects. This allows maximum control for object owners and road authorities.

In short, with the addition of these extra functionalities, the TLEX I2V platform gets a significant upgrade and is ready for the future.

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Abundance of dashboards and KPIs in TLEX I2V 2.0

In the middle of last year, the storage of metadata for the TLEX I2V platform was further expanded to better serve our customers. Subsequently, in the first half of 2020, the platform has been equipped with dashboarding functionality and automated KPI monitoring. This enables the clear and integrated display of the data into the user portal.

Figure 1 TLEX I2V 2.0 Dashboard example – Data quantity

For example, the TLEX I2V dashboards provide insight into:

  • Central homepage with outstanding ” data issues”;
  • Overall status of the connected objects;
  • Status of the connection to the connected objects;
  • Scope of the data exchange;
  • continuity/availability of the data;
  • Quality of the data exchange;
  • Latency of the data flows.

TLEX I2V has also been extended with alerting functionality; for all KPIs, it is now possible to set alerts. Depending on the settings, users are periodically (eg. daily) given a list of current deviations from set limit values.

Monotch partners are also given the option to define additional dashboards, and thanks to the “single sign-on” layer, partners can also make additional data and analyzes accessible in the user portal.

Figure 2 TLEX I2V 2.0 Dashboard example – Connection status

TLEX I2V 2.0 verbindt alle wegkantsystemen
Overzichtelijke weergave TLEX I2V data met dashboards en KPI’s

TLEX I2V 2.0 suitable for all roadside objects

Monotch’s TLEX I2V platform was specially designed to connect roadside equipment to service providers, the automotive industry, road authorities, and ultimately the road users. It has now expanded significantly and offers many new features.

Initially, the platform was developed for connecting intersections and facilitating data exchange with traffic lights. In the new TLEX I2V version, it is now also possible to connect to other roadside systems. For example, in this new version, roadside systems such as traffic lights, matrix signs, text carts, and WIS cars are given a “type designation”, and the properties, governance, and quality controls can now vary based on the type of roadside equipment. New types of roadside equipment now identifiable on TLEX I2V includes systems such as matrix signs, text carts, or access barriers.

Additionally, the limits, quality controls, and other properties are now also differentiable per object and/or domain. This type of differentiation has also been implemented in the screens and reports, for information such as variable names. This enables a more complete support & representation for other types of roadside equipment on the TLEX I2V platform.

Connecting all kinds of roadside equipment with ultimately the road users leads to many advantages for traffic flow and traffic safety on the Dutch road network and the safety and comfort of road users. The new dashboarding functionality was initially developed at the request of other European regions, but the new features are of course also available to Dutch customers.

TLEX to the max
TLEX I2V 2.0 verbindt alle wegkantsystemen

TLEX to the max

TLEX to the max
Monotch recently completed a series of large scale stress/performance tests for our TLEX I2V platform. After several months of preparation, we tested almost non-stop for 2 weeks and concluded with very successful results. We were not only able to prove that TLEX I2V is efficiently horizontally scalable in very large-scale deployments, but we were also able to test several software improvements extensively, and objectively establish that we achieve an even higher degree of efficiency.

Those who have been following Monotch for some time know that we are busy connecting all kinds of roadside objects to, ultimately, the road user. In essence, this means exchanging large amounts of messages in as little time as possible. That of course being done reliably, safely, and with the application of the necessary governance rules.

We now dare to say that we have mastered that data exchange ‘trick’ quite well. After all, we currently deliver more than 500 million messages every day, which boasts an average of one millisecond per message. This feat is something to be proud of, but not a surprise to the Monotch team as it is fully in line with the results of the performance tests that we have carried out with every change of the platform since 2017.

But we love a challenge and now that we support more and more types of objects and spread our wings to more and more countries, it was time for a new large-scale test session, christened ‘TLEX to the max’ internally.

First of all, the question was of course what ‘the max’ means in this case. After a healthy discussion, we decided to start from a setup of 7,500 data-providing intersections, 10,000 ‘lighter’ objects (think of road- side units, access barriers, road sensors) in combination with 5 million data-providing virtual road users and 20 ‘data-consuming’ service providers. In other words, about 95 billion messages delivered per 24 hours. All in all, a setup where we can support the entire Benelux as C-ITS services are rolled out on a large scale.

This was also when the financial people of Monotch began to worry. Because, in addition to a test environment that makes it possible to process the planned huge amounts of data, an environment was also needed to generate these messages. After all, we can only test objectively if this data is generated outside the platform. Fortunately, our various partners were willing to co-invest in ‘TLEX to the max’ and we were able to get a green light here, albeit with a (fortunately substantial) maximum of computing capacity. This somewhat changed the purpose of the tests, namely to “how much load can we process with the available test capacity?”

In addition to determining the required computing capacity for large-scale deployments, we mainly wanted to obtain certainty about the result of several improvements that we have developed for the core of TLEX I2V. That is why various test scenarios were composed in the preparation, consisting of varying loads, varying settings, and different TLEX versions.

The execution of the tests was certainly not routine. As we increased the load further, various bottle-necks were gradually confronted, particularly in the additional components such as governance and monitoring. These are valuable items that during the test period directly led to several reinforcements of the platform. In addition, we were able to determine that some software changes turned out to have a substantial positive impact on the efficiency of the upscaling, while retaining the ‘near zero latency’ character of TLEX I2V.

After we had carried out all planned tests, we continued to increase the numbers for a while: in the end we connected nearly 11,000 fictitious intersections with 10 million road users. Average latency? 5 milli-seconds ……

Bring on that C-ITS scale-up, TLEX I2V is ready!

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TLEX I2V 2.0 suitable for all roadside objects