A groundbreaking transportation scheme has led to improved traffic management systems on three key routes into the city of Coventry in the UK’s Midlands region, and has supported world-class research and design for future vehicle technology.
In a first of its kind pilot in the UK, the cutting-edge Intelligent Variable Message Systems (iVMS), also known as Dynamic Routing, has completed a three-month trial in Coventry. The innovative project received £2.49m (US$3.3m) of funding from the UK government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP). The remaining £450,000 (US$596,000) of funding was provided by the partners involved in the scheme, which included Coventry City Council as project leader, traffic technology supplier Siemens, the HORIBA MIRA testing facility, app developer Serious Games International, and Coventry University’s Center for Mobility and Transport and its Center for Business in Society.
Dynamic Routing required traffic management systems in Coventry to be upgraded to ensure drivers could receive up-to-date information about heavy traffic on their cell phones. This allowed drivers using a dedicated iVMS app to plan their journey to avoid congestion and prevent delays in reaching their destination. The app concentrated on providing transportation advice to motorists driving along three main arterial roads into Coventry from the M6 motorway: the A46 Binley Road, the A444, and the A4600 Walsgrave Road. As part of the trial, £700,000 (US$927,300) was invested in developing and installing strategically placed traffic infrastructure, including ALPR systems, Bluetooth and radar sensors, and CCTV cameras, to manage traffic flows on the three key routes to provide live in-journey information and guidance to travelers on journey conditions, routes and alternatives.
“The Local Growth Fund has played a significant part in providing the funding to improve traffic signals and communications equipment and its capability at strategic sites across Coventry, thanks to all the partners working together in a cohesive manner,” noted Jeff Clarke, portfolio holder for transportation and planning with Warwickshire County Council. “The work has included upgrading traffic cameras and installing a wireless communication network that is helping traffic signal controllers pass on up-to-date information to motorists, which is particularly important at peak times in the mornings and evenings. The result of this investment is that traffic flows can be monitored much easier, which will lead to economic and social benefits, since commuters will reach their places of work on time, and it will lead to better air quality at key junctions, since traffic won’t be standing still.”
Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration at Coventry City Council and CWLEP board director, added, “This work is really important, and it certainly hints at the future which will see a range of technology used to keep Coventry, and cities all across the world, moving. These are exciting times for the transportation sector and building on the work generated by Dynamic Routing will hopefully lead to further research and design to develop future transport technology.”