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Smart traffic scheme given the green light

Published on 23rd February

Newcastle leading the way on use of digital technology to tackle congestion.

A ground-breaking project in Newcastle which uses technology to help tackle traffic congestion has been given the green light by the Department for Transport.

Newcastle City Council, in collaboration with Newcastle University, has been awarded an extra £100,000 to extend the city's 'Smart Corridor' - an innovative scheme that uses smart technology to help manage traffic flow on a busy Newcastle street.

In total, £748,200 has been awarded which is being used to support the roll out of the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) project involving bus services operating on Gosforth High Street.

First steps towards a fully automated system

The scheme – one of only two in the country – involves using digital technology to connect buses with traffic signals in order to improve bus journeys for passengers, reduce congestion at key junctions and improve air quality on major bus routes. Building on the three-year Compass 4D project led by Newcastle University, the system allows the traffic signals to ‘talk’ to units on board the buses, holding the green light for a few seconds longer if the bus is approaching so the bus can pass through.

Phil Blythe, Professor of Transport at Newcastle University, said: “These are exciting times in the world of transport and here in Newcastle we are leading the way - taking the first step towards a fully automated system with intelligent infrastructure and, eventually, driverless cars.

“Smart technology which enables the traffic signals and vehicles to ‘talk’ to each other allows us to manage the flow of traffic, giving priority to certain road users such as buses or perhaps re-directing drivers on quieter routes so we reduce congestion, fuel use and emissions.

"It also offers us the opportunity to introduce a range of safety benefits, particularly for vulnerable road users such as cyclists. This is the first installation of its kind in the UK we will use this as a platform to lead innovations in traffic management to deliver improvements in safety, congestion and air quality and to build on decade of innovative collaborations between the City and University in Newcastle.

“By supporting and installing this technology, the city is ensuring that we are at the forefront of implementing intelligent transport systems and, as new technologies emerge into the market, will be at the forefront of testing and evaluating these.”

For the full article please visit the Newcastle University website.

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