Newcastle begins traffic light priority testing

April 8 2015  

Newcastle begins traffic light priority testing
Trials of technology aimed at improving road traffic flow by connecting vehicles with infrastructure to provide personalised driver information have begun in Newcastle.
The project, led by Newcastle University, links an in-vehicle communication system directly with the city’s urban traffic management control centre, allowing traffic lights to ‘talk’ to motorists.
Initially the system is being trialled in 14 non-emergency vehicles belonging to the North East Ambulance Patient Transport Service. Where appropriate these vehicles will be given automated priority at 20 traffic signals in the city centre, helping to reduce delays and fuel bills.
“This is about optimising the network,” said Newcastle University’s urban traffic management control centre manager Ray King.
“The aim of the pilot is to show it could work – that giving priority and personalised information to drivers can have a significant impact on how we drive and the conditions on our roads. This is just the first step,” he added.
As well as the priority system, the project team is looking at implementing forward collision warning to notify drivers of obstacles on the road and a red light violation warning to indicate when a vehicle ahead has jumped a red light.
Newcastle University’s professor of transport Phil Blythe provided some examples of the technology’s potential application. “The system might advise a driver that if they travel at 24MPH they will hit the next four sets of traffic lights on green.
“In more congested areas or at particularly busy times of the day, vehicles on key roads might be given priority in order to keep the traffic flowing,” he said.
(Photo: Newcastle University)

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