A Business Management Approach to Transport - Some Lessons Learned from Congestion Charging in Edinburgh

A Business Management Approach to Transport - Some Lessons Learned from Congestion Charging in Edinburgh


Kenneth McLeod and Séamus Healy, tie Limted, UK


This paper will explain background to developing an appropriate solution for the Edinburgh congestion charging scheme and the wider lessons learned.



It is well established that the ability to integrate across technologies is essential in the delivery of an Intelligent Transport System (ITS). To facilitate such integration, the Urban Traffic Management Control (UTMC) compatibility specification has been developed and is proving a valuable standard for communication protocols between frontline technologies. The development of two competing Congestion Charging systems for Edinburgh has proven that general business standard Enterprise applications such as Oracle and SAP can be employed for all aspects of business execution. Such a fully integrated model can bring ?best of breed? business tools to the Transport Practitioner.

The Edinburgh Congestion Charge Development

The Edinburgh solution was driven by the need to minimise the total cost of ownership. A dual prototype procurement process ensured that a competitive environment remained throughout the development phase. The key design principles were;

? The solutions developed would centre on a business system that could manage all business activity associated with Congestion Charging
? The complete operation would need to be stand alone ? i.e. no other external support systems were to be assumed.
? Client independence should be maintained both in respect to System Integration and subsequent operation
? System architectures were to be based on single platform wider industry standard Enterprise solutions.
? Bespoke development and customisation was to be avoided where possible, and was highly discouraged throughout the developments.

The resulting designs and prototypes were delivered centring on a single Enterprise application in each, one using SAP and the other Oracle. Both developments required no bespoke developments or customisation and covered the entire range of operational requirements. The developments also included other aspects of traffic management such as Journey Time Analysis and real time information. Other complementary operational services could easily be linked to such a business system. The projected capital outlay and subsequent operational costs were considered to be low when compared with similar scale schemes around the world. We fully expected the Edinburgh solution to be the benchmark for other systems implemented elsewhere in Europe and abroad.

Wider Lessons Learned

1. The competitive dual development and prototype employed in Edinburgh resulted in world class designs that were delivered on time and to budget, with significant additional development delivered due to the suppliers competitive position.

2. Transport applications can be supported without customisation by industry standard Enterprise solutions that can form the ?back office? integration that is currently lacking in the transport arena.

3. Best of breed modern day Enterprise applications can bring fully integrated elements of Financial Management, Service Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Information Management, and Payment Channel Management, amongst others, to the realm of traffic management. Such a powerful business system suite can revolutionise the way in which transport systems are managed and allow the potential to deliver service to customers and clients that can be benchmarked against the best global practices from other public and commercial sectors.

4. The delivery of such integrated solutions is only possible through engagement of world class System Integrator suppliers by an ?intelligent client?. Suppliers can normally gauge the level of client intelligence through the specifications supplied and the governance model employed, and they will temper their response and subsequent behaviours based on this.

5. Future major developments (national road user charging, Smartcards, etc) will be best served in basing designs on Enterprise applications that are readily supported and operated by industry and that allow customer excellence and a more certain technology road map going forward.

6. To further realise synergy benefits, such developments can be used as a ?shared service? offering to other regions/functions that can bring down the overall individual transaction costs, and offer a service level to smaller operations that would have been prohibitive on an individual development basis.

The paper will explain the procurement approach adopted in Edinburgh, the benefits of the system developed, and how this differs from other approaches to ITS implementation. It will also look at the role Enterprise solutions can play in the transport environment with respect to the supply of timely, joined up, and focused business information and in the provision of a complete customer service.


Association for European Transport