As part of this year’s Highway Maintenance settlement for English local authorities outside of London, the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has announced a £15 million allocation specifically to supplement existing local authority spending on the upgrade and maintenance of traffic signals and associated equipment.
This new money for the 2021/22 financial year is available to authorities to address a backlog in traffic signals maintenance and to start to prepare technology used on local roads for the challenges of connected vehicles, new mobility and opening up data and the coming challenge of automated vehicles.
The Transport Technology Forum (TTF) and the Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG) are supporting the DfT on this project. Research by the TTF highlighted to the DfT areas around signals maintenance which would benefit from extra funding, building the case for this allocation. Local authorities will be invited to apply for this money in April using dedicated pages on the LCRIG website.
The process, designed to be simple and straightforward, involves authorities demonstrating the policies they have in place for using their traffic signals, existing maintenance programmes and their aspirations for the future.
DfT is now writing to the chief executives of all English highways authorities and will be working with TTF, LCRIG, ITS (UK) and other industry bodies to promote this new funding. The LCRIG website, which has dedicated pages for each local authority, is hosting the questionnaire where authorities can submit their application.
“This is a welcome sign of the TTF making a real difference,” said chair Steve Gooding. “The TTF’s work revealing the present state of performance of traffic signal systems – in particular the roadside data on which they depend – has been instrumental in building the case for this funding to be provided.
“Whether all the changes in our travel patterns through the many months of Covid-lockdown (as revealed by the TTF’s award-winning weekly Covid-19 Local Authority travel and transport data reports) will be sustained remains to be seen, but the growth in home-working and home deliveries both suggest that now is the perfect time for authorities to review and, as necessary, retune the settings of their traffic signals and check to ensure they are working as effectively as possible.”
“I would strongly encourage all local authorities to apply for this funding,” commented LCRIG president Will Britain. “We are delighted to be working closely with the Department for Transport on this and helping to facilitate the application process for councils. This process will run for four weeks, so I’d encourage everyone to look at the detailed guidance issued by the DfT and submit their entries via the LCRIG website. 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 and how it will be used to improve road safety and keep traffic flowing.”
The application process via the LCRIG website will run for four weeks and will open on 12 April. The closing date for applications is 7 May. The DfT is currently writing to the chief officers of all included authorities and further detailed information about the application process will issued after the Easter break.