Maintenance, small-scale development and user support for the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s road data systems will be provided by Sitowise’s experts for the next five years. The availability of up-to-date information about the road network is also reflected in road users’ everyday lives through, for example, a variety of navigation services.

In the summer, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency signed a five-year agreement with Sitowise for the maintenance of its road data systems. The agreement covers maintenance of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s six core data systems, including small-scale application development and support services.

These systems include Digiroad (the national information system for Finland’s road and street network), the Road Register and IVAR3, which is used to make benefit and cost calculations for road projects. The systems are used to support road maintenance planning and to manage attributes such as property and name data.

“As the package includes different types of applications at various stages of their lifecycles, maintenance will require a broad range of expertise in a variety of information systems and software environments,” says Jani Lehenberg, a road data specialist at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.

Finnish transport enters the digital age

In 2016–2018, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency implemented a digitalisation project to renew the digital processing of traffic and transport data.

“The processing of road data is getting better and better all the time, which is being reflected in both road information management and planning and maintenance processes,” says Lehenberg. The benefits of necessary road maintenance are visible to road users.

All of our information systems are connected to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s asset management, which means that high-quality datasets really do benefit ordinary citizens.

-Jani Lehenberg, road data specialist, Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency

“All of our information systems are connected to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s asset management, which means that high-quality datasets really do benefit ordinary citizens,” says Lehenberg.

Road data also has many other uses. For example, information about road signs is sent to navigation, routing and logistics programs via a variety of services. Lehenberg says that Finland has now taken some important steps towards the development of a digital platform for transport.

“Paper maps have been replaced by digital databases, and we’ve had some good experiences with autonomous traffic and image interpretation. The next few years will determine what digital information can offer to both road users and service providers of all kinds.”

Responding quickly to user needs

The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency is constantly developing its information systems, to ensure the availability of up-to-date information on the condition, use and construction of roads. System architecture is the goal.

“The most important thing is to control the big picture,” says Project Manager Jaakko Valkonen from Sitowise’s Smart City business area. “All of the systems communicate with each other, so a change in one system will also affect the others.”

Maintenance covers testing, further development and support services for the information systems. Having an agile working culture also helps. “We’re used to working as an independent team without heavy bureaucracy. That’s why we’re able to react quickly to both problems and user needs,” says Valkonen.

Suomalaista tiemaisemaa

The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s information systems are largely based open source code, and the majority of its data is freely available to all.

“Our road data is also used by many companies and authorities,” says Lehenberg. User support services are therefore a key aspect of the maintenance agreement. “The systems are extremely important in, for example, the management of road data at ELY Centres.”

Extensive expertise in digital transport solutions

Sitowise and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency have already been cooperating on the digitalisation of road data for a long time.

“Sitowise is our digital operator and is also a member of the Velho alliance, which is aiming to replace the current Road Register with a more comprehensive road data system,” says Lehenberg.

Sitowise’s application development team has about a dozen members, and also manages a variety of road datasets.

“As a multidisciplinary operator, we’re able to provide our customers with transport planning and consulting as necessary,” says Valkonen.