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York to trial new 'connected' traffic technology for UK's Department for Transport

The city of York has been selected by the UK government’s Department for Transport (DfT) to trial new technology that could revolutionize the way in which cities manage traffic flow and digital technology in vehicles across England.

The DfT has announced that City of York Council (CYC) was successfully awarded a share of £2m (US$2.5m) in new funding from the Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems grant (CITS) to lead on this special project. The £300,000 (US$373,000) funding will be used to gather research, intelligence and data in York over a two-year period from April. The aim of the trial is to demonstrate that the new technology will improve traffic flow, congestion, road safety and online connectivity.

The trial in York will focus on the A59 corridor from the Park & Ride site to Holgate Bridge. It will start by using location data collected from vehicles monitored by connected car services and transportation analytics company Inrix Ltd, which is one of the project’s partners to trial better phasing of traffic signals. In later stages, parts of CYC’s fleet and other vehicles will be fitted with communications to allow them to ‘speak’ to traffic signals along the A59. The trial will also provide the commercial partners in the project from across the country with the opportunity to showcase their products in York.

Once the trial is completed, the information will be used by the government to roll out new national guidance on digital technology and connected vehicles. Currently, around 8% of all vehicles in Europe are fitted with connected vehicle technology, and by 2020 it is estimated that it will be 25%. The technology gives vehicles wireless internet access and allows them to share information with other devices. The trials using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications will reveal if the technology could help avoid accidents by sensing oncoming vehicles or possible impacts. The tests will also connect vehicles with traffic signals to make traffic flow more efficient by measuring congestion, flows, speeds and queues, which could improve signal settings by making them more flexible and reactive.

By linking direct to the internet, the technology could give vehicles the ability to ‘talk to their owners’, and could notify them that they are due an MOT test and provide them with contact information for local garages via a direct online link or app. The first use of the technology will come in 2018, when it will become law for every new vehicle to be fitted with the pan-European ‘e-Call’ system, which will detect if a vehicle is involved in an accident, and call emergency services automatically.

“The research being conducted here in York will put the authority firmly at the forefront of technology nationally for helping to develop this important new guidance,” noted Ian Gillies, CYC’s executive member for transport and planning. “This trial will revolutionize digital technology for transport across England, paving way for the next generation of vehicles. We’re delighted to support the DfT in leading the way on this new national guidance.”

February 28, 2017

Written by Adam Frost

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