Councils win £4m from DfT for travel and traffic tech projects

The Department for Transport has announced the 19 councils that will share £4m in funding for innovative digital projects that aim to cut congestion, pollution and journey times.

Funding for tech to reduce congestion and control transport fleets – Photo credit: Flickr, Thomas190, CC BY 2.0 

The councils will each receive between £50,000 and £300,000 for their projects, which will be used to develop technology projects that will improve journeys in their areas.

Roads minister Andrew Jones said that the schemes would help “transform journeys for passengers and motorists across the country”.

He said: “Technology is rapidly evolving and this important work shows that if we get it right, it can cut congestion, speed up journeys, clean up the environment, and improve accessibility.”

Two councils, Warrington and Worcestershire, were awarded the highest figure, of £300,000, for projects that will use technology to improve real-time traffic information and traffic incident information, respectively.

Oxfordshire and Peterborough councils are developing real-time information systems for vulnerable or visually impaired road users, with Peterborough council’s work focusing on helping people visit the new Royal National Institute for the Blind head office in the city.

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Other schemes aim to help the council better manage traffic flows and congestion – such schemes are being developed by the councils of York, Southampton, Swindon – or their own fleets of vehicles.

For instance, the West Midlands has been awarded £285,000 for a system that will offer HGV drivers real-time information to avoid unnecessary stops at traffic signals through a hands-free smartphone app.

Newcastle council is planning work on a connected bus scheme, while Portsmouth will develop a platform for its traffic management centre to enable communication exchange between infrastructure and vehicles.

Other schemes include advanced warning systems for congestion in Derbyshire, Dorset and alert systems to help the council better manage traffic flows and congestion, which are being developed

A number of schemes focus on real-time data on parking availability, with Luton receiving £73,000 and Coventry £150,000.

Milton Keynes, which has been running a parking monitoring system in the city for more than two years, has been awarded £175,000 to provide real-time information with cameras or sensors at key junctions.

The council’s transport innovation lead Brian Matthews told PublicTechnology in June last year that the challenge for the city is encouraging people to empty spaces that might not be right outside the shop of their choice.

“If the council can identify in real time where a space is, and get that information to drivers, they can make informed choices about where to park,” he said.


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