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#HighwaysHack 2016 - the highlights

After 3 years working to bring highways and the open data community closer together, its a real landmark to be present at the first Highways England Open Data Hack organised by the ODI Leeds team with Highways England, 21-22 October 2016. You weren't there? Here are some highlights.....


  1. Why is #HighwaysHack needed?

  2. Why hack organisers ODI Leeds and highways data champions Chris Barnes, Tony Malone, Nic Cary and Tom Forth believe #HighwaysHack is so important.....(video interviews with John Popham below, with text excerpts to highlight key points)
  3. Chris Barnes, Open Data Lead in Highways England and organiser of #HighwaysHack, with ODILeeds......"To open up existing data within a creative, innovative environment, and plug it into transport planning tools to improve journey planning."
  4. Chris Barnes, Highways England, at #HighwaysHack
  5. Tony Malone, CIO and Executive Director for IT, Highways England...."Highways England have vast amounts of data that only we use, and I don't know why. I have a passion to make our data open and free, and encourage sharing and use of data. I've seen some very good collaborations with local authorities here this weekend, which I'd like to continue to support. There have also been some great low cost tech solutions to expensive old tech / maintenance challenges we face. As an organisation we have the opportunity to sponsor some of the ideas coming out of today and similar future events".
  6. Tony Malone, Highways England, at #HighwaysHack
  7. Nic Cary, Head of Digital and Open Data, Department for Transport.....It shows Highways England and the rest of the world how much you can achieve in such an incredibly short period of time when you 'show the thing'; showing the business the thing, showing developers the business, it's all about that. I've been in digital for over 20 years, but its only now I'm beginning to really enjoy it because we've actually freed ourselves up and realised the constrained, ancient, very waterfall way of doing things just doesn't work. If you want to have a really exciting time, get people into a room allow them to freely interact, have an un-meeting, then you'll get some really exciting results. The idea of a very lightweight technology that can do traffic counts is very exciting for me. There are lots of traffic count technologies available, but very few begin with the idea of working from and with legacy technology. There are lots of like-minded people here, and if we do this again, which I hope we will, then its really important to have people from the business involved, showing them this is so much more fun that sitting in a office writing a requirements specification, and its much quicker too.
  8. Nic Cary, Department of Transport, at #HighwaysHack
  9. Tom Forth, ODI Leeds...."We've been looking at a problem, which is that Highways England are here, and they manage the Strategic Road Network, which is a very small proportion of the english road network [2% by length]. And the local roads around Leeds, Bradford etc the are not managed by Highways England. So, we have lots of data from Highways England which is fantastic for congestion, traffic flow, all kinds of things on M62, on Motorways and trunk roads, but within cities and locally managed roads we just don't have data, so that's one of the things we are trying to get. I think there is a massive opportunity for people to take control of measuring traffic and congestion where they live. At the minute, you can go on Googlemaps and see a congestion map of where you live, but that's Google, its not your data, its not something that you can necessarily trust or use for advocacy for your purpose. But, if we can collect that data ourselves then we can use it for whatever we want to, it could be trying to get a new pedestrian crossing in somewhere, or changing the timing of some lights, for example. If we collect the data ourselves, we can use it for things.
  10. #HighwaysHack mottos: Stop Talking Start Doing. Show the Thing. Replace presentations with demo's
  11. What people built.....

  12. Teams from AECOM, Department for Transport, RAC Foundation, Imactivate and Samuel L Foxton and friends built working prototypes of apps / services designed to transform the way we use and influence transport....
  13. Team AECOM / Paddington Bear - Highways Route Rater - choose your preferred route on things other than duration and length
  14. Team DfT - Busyness, the accurate Journey Planner for busy people
  15. Katherine Attwood, Department for Transport, at #HighwaysHack