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Computer scientists offering help to improve Oxfordshire's transport management

October 10, 2018

People living in Oxfordshire are set to benefit from a new partnership agreement that will help improve the road and transport infrastructure in the county.

This agreement, which is between Oxfordshire County Council and the Science and Technology Facilities Council, means that the Council will have access to expert analysis that will enable them to give a better service to the community. Through DAFNI (Data and Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure), which is managed by STFC’s Scientific Computing Department at Harwell, council planners will be able to tap into the expertise they need to support the infrastructure networks needed for the county’s growing population.

Sam Chorlton, Leader of DAFNI at STFC, said, “Oxfordshire County Council are pioneering methods to provide improved mobility and economic diversity to Oxfordshire. They fully understand the essential role that modelling and simulation of infrastructure will play in achieving this aim, and accept the limitations that exist with current methods. The County Council fully support the role that DAFNI will play in enabling these activities to be advanced, and perform them with greater accuracy and transparency than ever before. This will enable Oxfordshire to provide an efficient and effective service that can adapt to evolving environmental challenges and a volatile technological landscape.”

Laura Peacock, Innovation Hub Manager for Oxfordshire County Council, said: “From a local authority perspective, there is an urgent need to store, organise and curate the vast amounts of data generated locally, in order to improve the value delivered to the community.

“Oxfordshire County Council is, amongst other roles, the education, public health, emergency planning, consumer protection, and highways authority in Oxfordshire, managing billions worth of assets and documenting on their utilisation.

“However, due to budget limitation, local authorities cannot invest in the complex architecture and expertise required to analyse these fully or quickly enough, thus reducing the impact of new projects, such as the Oxfordshire Strategic Transport Model.

“Collaborating with DAFNI enables Oxfordshire County Council to explore, share and gain actionable insights on its operations, deliver value in healthcare and traffic management as well as to make better decision and reduce risk in future infrastructure investments.”

DAFNI will make available independent research and analysis to support Oxfordshire’s long-term infrastructure needs and therefore help decision makers to analyse performance of current infrastructure and inform wise investments to meet their ever-changing technological needs.

Tom Griffin, Director of STFC’s Scientific Computing Department, said, “DAFNI provides an exciting opportunity for us to utilise our extensive knowledge in the development of large scale platforms to create a new capability for the infrastructure research community. Given our location in Oxfordshire, this agreement will act as a footing to develop a number of collaborations between the Scientific Computing Department and Oxfordshire County Council. We see this as a first step towards working with other Local Authorities and helping to leverage data for the public good.”