City of York launches STEP scaled
Case study

York to use sensors to manage traffic

Beacons on traffic lights will ‘talk’ to cars in York as intelligent transport technology is used to reduce congestion in the city.

City of York Council has won £2.85m for its revolutionary Smarter Travel Evolution Programme (STEP) from the local road network strand of the government’s National Productivity Investment Fund.

STEP takes advantage of York’s ultra fast fibre optic connectivity and the transport research the government is already funding in the city.

Starting in April 2018, the STEP programme will run for two years, and is designed to transform the way the council manages the city’s roads, from changes to how traffic lights react to traffic flows through to designing junctions and road improvements.

This will also allow the council to better understand and model the potential impact of changes and demands on the network as new homes and employment sites are created.

Detectors located on traffic lights, bollards and other street furniture will track vehicle movements by anonymous signatures collected from people using mobile data services. This data will be processed using sophisticated real-time traffic data and analysis.

STEP is thought to be the first live trial in the UK of the use of vehicle data to manage urban traffic control, and traffic signal timings.

The system will also be able to ‘talk’ to the new generation of connected and ‘driverless’ vehicles, preparing the city for the road users of the future.

Cllr Ian Gillies, executive member for transport and planning at City of York Council, said: “This will make York one of the most advanced cities in the country. Being able to build things like traffic light signalling based on the journeys people really make every day will mean better decisions, less congestion and improved air quality.

“We can’t simply build more roads in the city, so this is a really innovative way to get the city moving as efficiently as possible.

“It is yet more evidence of the advantages of our investment in better connectivity, and how we can really use it to make York an even more attractive place to live, work and do business.

Also taking place in York is the Eboracum research project, which was created to test ways to gather real-time data about how car-users behave on a road network. This uses data from the A59 corridor into the city.

York Council has received £450,000 of research grant from the Department for Transport to fund this work. It will use the data from connected cars as well as those collected by third parties, such as sat nav software firms. Information is connected via the internet or from sensors located at the roadside to provide a picture of how vehicles move around the city.

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