More than 100 local authorities have expressed an interest in the £15 million funding allocation for the upgrade and repair of traffic signals in England – a level of response which the Department for Transport (DfT) has described as “unprecedented”.
All English local authorities outside London were invited to register interest in the additional money being made available by the DfT. Of the 121 councils who were invited to apply for the funding, 101 submitted applications – representing a 90% response rate.
This extra money is drawn from the main highways maintenance settlement and supplements existing local authority spending on the upgrade and maintenance of traffic signals and associated equipment.
Councils were asked to provide evidence of their current traffic signal maintenance policies and practices and required to detail their strategies and preparedness for future technology opportunities, along with any specific issues around maintenance needs and priorities.
Funding will be awarded in blocks of between £300,000 and £500,000 and will be allocated to between 30 and 50 local authorities to support programmes of work over the coming 24 months.
The application process was overseen by the Transport Technology Forum and managed by the Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG).
“The sheer number of authorities applying for cash shows a desire to improve the traffic flow in their areas,” commented TTF chair Steve Gooding of the RAC Foundation. “I am delighted to see how committed they are to ensuring their traffic signals are operating as efficiently as possible. Properly timed signals, reacting to current traffic conditions have so many benefits, ensuring faster journeys, less congestion and better support for active travel, which means better air quality and much less driver stress.
“I think this proves that upgrading signals is a key focus of authorities, and I hope more money can be found to make sure every area gets the money it needs.”
The latest traffic signal technology improves efficiency of the road network for all road users, providing better provision for pedestrians, cyclists and vulnerable road users as well as motor vehicles. This helps deliver key transport targets around active travel and air quality initiatives.
Will Britain, president of LCRIG, added: “Our team have worked hard to manage the vast number of authorities who have applied for this funding. The fact that we have worked so closely with the Department for Transport to help facilitate the application process shows that the links between central and local government really are key to ensuring ongoing improvements in road safety.
“Ongoing maintenance of traffic signals is vital as councils strive to improve road safety, decarbonise and reduce collisions and hazards. I look forward to seeing the results of who has been awarded this funding.”
The assessment of submissions will now start and successful authorities who have been allocated grant funding will be informed in the coming weeks.
As part of the application process applicants were presented with an LCRIG questionnaire and the findings of this will provide an overview of the national status of signals.