A sophisticated & extendable data platform for Highways England
How we utilised open-source technologies to architect a sophisticated & extendable data platform for Highways England.
CACI Information Intelligence Group were delighted to be asked to help when Highways England needed assistance in the creation of a sophisticated and extendable data platform.
The Technical Standards Enterprise System (TSES) IT project was instigated from a recommendation accepted by the Highways England board that “the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) is developed and future proofed so that the investment arising from its review is fully leveraged, taking account of trends in digital technologies”.
The challenge for the TSES was to facilitate the creation, maintenance and publication of a digitised version of all Highways England technical standards. The TSES will expose a digital DMRB to industry, promoting innovation and incorporating relevant systems. These included systems such as the Collaborative Authoring and Review System (CARS), the Departures Approval System (DAS) and a published online archive of all relevant DMRB documents.
The CACI team utilised open-source technologies to architect a sophisticated and extendable data platform for Highways England. The TSES is made up of multiple modules formed from common components that conform to open standards and frameworks. This approach has provided faster and more efficient development through re-use of components and enabled interoperability between modules, allowing Highways England to fully leverage the combined benefits of the TSES capabilities.
Two fully deployed modules are CARS and DAS.
CARS is an authoring and reviewing tool that allows teams that are geographically distributed and made up from Highways England supply chain, industry experts and devolved administrations such as Transport Scotland, the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure and the Welsh Government to efficiently write and review DMRB documents that adhere to the Manual for Document development rules. These rules apply specifically to the structure and verb forms that are used to ensure the quality of the standards.
DAS allows industry to apply for departures from a standard to upgrade safety features, efficiency in design of a road scheme or utilise advances in civil engineering practices.
The system is built using:
- A microservice architecture and API service
- PostgreSQL database
- Microsoft Azure Cloud
- Spring Boot
- Apache Tomcat
- Angular Webapp
The introduction of the TSES has dramatically increased the velocity and quality at which DMRB standards are being updated, enabling Highways England to meet their license mandate to finish the updating process by 2020. The digitisation of the documents has unlocked significant opportunities for realising the Digital Roads Vision including:
- Facilitating a system-to-system link between the documents and CAD design systems.
- Applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to enable augmented authoring of documents and tightening the feedback loop between departures and standards to ensure Highways England are able to benefit from engineering innovations.
If you have any questions or want to learn more, get in touch today.