Scrupulous calculations ensure better planning of the transport process

The Time Distance (TD) Matrix is actually as old as the road to Rome. I recently found a nice example of this in the Muiderslot where people used to place the time to the destination in a schematic overview (see image below).

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In the time of Floris V of Holland (he who had the Muiderslot built), there was no truck or traffic jam on the road. The only reason for the delay was because of rebellious provinces that wanted to take possession of this count by force. The comparison with now seems far, but is closer than you think. Every day in the Netherlands – more than 700 years later – we are still fighting against our internal borders: those of the road network and the amount of traffic and transport that crosses them every day. Contrary to the borders of a country, a road network can expand ‘more easily’. Nevertheless, issues such as the nitrogen debate and many other rules require us to make inventive use of road and transport capacity. But… everything starts with a battle plan, also in transport.

When making a plan, you want to optimise as much as possible. In essence, that is what a plan package does: calculating what is the most optimal outcome for your goal. The TD matrix is a fixed set of values for this. In its simplest form, this fixed set of values makes it possible to know the (read: one) time and distance to get from A to B. An example: from Amsterdam to Rotterdam is 50 minutes, but the city centre of Amsterdam is of course less accessible in the morning rush hour than at night. If you are able to provide better information that allows you to differentiate your planning, this will enrich the planning packages and provide a more feasible planning. Between origin and destination, it is therefore important to route well and accurately and to be able to weigh up the time of day at which you plan this route.

In order to optimise traffic situations in the planning, we previously introduced fine-mesh delay times. This means a separate driving time for each day of the week, for every 5 minutes, focused on trucks or vans so that you take the road and traffic situation with you very precisely in order to determine when to hit the road.

It doesn’t stop here for us yet. With the HD TD matrix, we enable our customers to plan realistically not only by type of day, but also by date and even by part of the day. After all, planning for a Monday morning in July is fundamentally different from planning for a Monday morning in November. The insights that ANWB has been making with our product for years (Traffic-Jam-top-10), which you know from us about snowfal or protest actions, are thus converted into the next step for our customers. Seasonal dependencies in traffic from history are taken into account in the exact input we already provide to plan packages.

It doesn’t stop here either, because we make products for people and in that experienced planner there is refinement that even with the best data sometimes can’t be traced… Where we see the real revolution is to enable our users to turn the planning knob at very short notice when a transport operation needs to be adjusted. Being able to adjust the delay time by a factor in our Control Tower is therefore a big step that can be realized in large transport operations and where the last step of the unruly reality can be mastered. The integration of human expertise for a battle plan that is as accurate as possible across the operation.

Back to Floris V, who explored the boundaries and tried to push them. Unfortunately he had to pay for his lust for power with death, but his legacy, the Muiderslot, is certainly worth a visit. Do check the route information, because the A1 is certainly a factor 1.6 faster to reach in the weekend than on Monday morning.

The HD TD matrix is available as an add-on for all our Control Tower customers. Would you like more information? Please contact us!

Picture of painting Muideslot: J.A.Beerstraaten, Het Muiderslot in de winter. © The National Gallery