Enabling the public sector to save money, innovate and make more effective policy decisions by using space technology and data

Case Study: City Science - Transport modelling based on Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) data

General Information

  • Provider: City Science
  • Technology utilised: Position Navigation & Timing (PNT)
  • Thematic area: Infrastructure Local Authorities and Devolved Administrations
  • End user(s): Sedgemoor District Council , Somerset County Council
  • Website: www.cityscience.com


  • 2018

This grant funded, feasibility study was undertaken in 2018, in response to SSGP's 2017-18 Open Call Competition. 

Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District Council required a cost-effective mechanism to test freight scheduling options on key routes around Sedgemoor. Understanding the key impacts of HGV movements was essential to ensuring the wider function of the transport network. The client wanted a mechanism to understand this without building a large-scale traditional transport model.

City Science developed a ‘Digital Twin’ of the routes by pairing a model with satellite position, navigation and timing (PNT) data. By combining GPS data, vehicle counters and loops with detailed junction performance models, the team developed a ‘What-if’ analysis tool and the ability to provide ongoing checks to transport models. This enabled the user to explore the impact of different HGV schedules, understanding the effect of absolute numbers and scheduling on the road network. As an output to the project, we developed an interactive notebook to test and understand a range of different scenarios. This was delivered at a fraction of the cost of a traditional transport model.

The potential applications of satellite data in infrastructure modelling are significant from the development through to testing of models. As demand for digital twins grows globally, demand for techniques and new types of space data will also grow.

This project developed a range of techniques which provide a wide range of applications within Transport modelling. These have already been applied to analyse detailed cycling movement within Birmingham.

Next Steps

City Science has been awarded funding from Innovate UK for a Digital Twin project that will use a range of data sources and techniques to further improve transport model development.