Traffic lights and motorists linked by automated transport system

A new technology that connects traffic signals to cars to help drivers make their way around town has been rolled out in Newcastle.

In the pilot initiative, the first of its kind in the UK, the technology linked an in-vehicle communication system directly to the city’s Urban Traffic Management Control (UTMC), responding directly to drivers’ needs and giving certain cars priority at junctions.

Phil Blythe, Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems at Newcastle University, said: “Traffic management systems are already in place across the city to improve traffic flow, but what is unique about the trial is that we will be giving personalised information directly to the driver.”

Led by Newcastle University in collaboration with Siemens and Newcastle Council, the project aims to use Infrastructure to Vehicle (I2V) communications technology to create energy-efficient junctions, diffuse traffic and improve road safety.

The technology will be able to calculate the ideal speed to get through the next set of green lights, reducing the need for stopping, starting and accelerating. If the signal is red, the drivers will know how long they have to wait and based on that will be advised when to turn the engine on and off to reduce emissions.

The project, called Compass4D, is a three-year EU co-funded initiative expected to be rolled out in seven European cities: Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Helmond, Newcastle, Thessaloniki, Verona and Vigo. It will assess the costs of cooperative systems, which could lead to large-scale operational traffic management in Europe if the trials go well.

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