London and West Midlands sign new transportation knowledge-sharing agreement

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Transport for London (TfL) and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) have signed the first agreement of its type that will see the UK’s two biggest cities work more closely together to help solve their transportation problems, including dealing with incidents and managing major sporting events.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by TfL and TfWM is the first time two devolved UK local authorities have made a commitment to share best practice and work toward common goals. From dealing with major traffic incidents to limiting the disruption of large-scale transport projects and reducing congestion, the agreement will enable the West Midlands and London to learn from each other to improve not only their individual regions, but also the rest of the UK.

At an event held in London’s Traffic Control Center, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, met staff who monitor the capital’s road network 24 hours a day.

As well as seeing how the capital uses state-of-the-art traffic signal technology to monitor and reduce congestion, the mayors also saw how the control center is used to coordinate major sporting events, such as the London Marathon and RideLondon, ensuring swift responses to any incidents or congestion.

With Coventry and Birmingham due to host several major events in the next five years, it is hoped that working together to share knowledge and experience will ensure they are as successful as the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The agreement covers a range of areas in which both organizations believe they could benefit from working together, including:

• Sharing information on how to address and manage any potential impacts around the delivery of major transport projects, including how to make transport networks resilient while key elements are delivered;

• Working with local businesses and freight organizations to help consolidate and retime freight deliveries to reduce congestion and improve air quality, particularly around construction projects;

• Analysis of road and public transport flows between West Midlands and London to improve connectivity and allow for better traffic and congestion modeling between the cities;

• Monitoring developments in Mobility as a Service (MaaS), as well as a coordinated response toward new disruptive technologies in the future;

• Working together to improve open-data for developers through online portals, such as TfL’s API platform, and identifying new ways to collect key transport data to increase productivity.

“In the next few years, the West Midlands will be playing host to huge events requiring us to be at the top of our game in terms of managing transport, particularly on our public transport networks,” noted Street. “Transport for London has a wealth of experience in accommodating extra travelers, and we’re keen to tap into this knowledge ahead of the Commonwealth Games and Coventry City of Culture.”

Gareth Powell, managing director for surface transport at TfL, said, “This agreement will see us share our experience from the last two decades as an integrated transport authority, while learning a range of new skills and ideas from the West Midlands. We can also work together on developing and delivering common policies, like improving air quality and reducing the impact of major transport projects, which will benefit the UK more widely by boosting connectivity in every region.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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