Digital tech to tackle congestion in Newcastle

Newcastle City Council has been awarded £100,000 to extend an innovative scheme that uses smart technology to help manage traffic flow on a busy Newcastle street.

The Department for Transport has awarded a total of £748,2000 to support the roll out of the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) project involving bus services operating on Gosforth High Street.

Working in partnership with Newcastle University, the scheme uses 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.

The trial focuses on ensuring that Arriva’s X10, X11, X20 and X21 buses travelling down the Great North Road are given a ‘green wave’ to ensure they spend as little time as possible stopping and starting which improves traffic management and air quality.

Cllr Ged Bell, cabinet member for Investment and Development at Newcastle City Council, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in the DfT’s Funding for Innovation competition. We are committed to testing new intelligent transport technology in real-life scenarios in Newcastle and it’s great that our work is being recognised as leading the way across the continent.

“The potential benefits from C-ITS technology are far-reaching. Newcastle is seeing the biggest investment in its highways in over 30 years as part of our Re-newcastle investment programme. This additional funding allows us to be innovative in managing traffic flow and harness the power of digital technology to improve safety, efficiency and emissions and better manage our road network.”

Roads Minister Andrew Jones added: “Technology is rapidly evolving and this important works shows that if we get it right, it can cut congestion, speed up journeys, clean up the environment and improve accessibility.”