UK’s North East region gets funding for new technology to cut congestion


The UK government has awarded new funding to upgrade traffic management technology across the North East region, which will be invested in the latest equipment to help cut congestion and improve journey times.

A total of £3.64m (US$4.8m) will be spent on the technology upgrades across the North East Combined Authority (NECA) area, which covers the seven councils that serve County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland. The regional authority was awarded £2.8m (US$3.7m) from the Department for Transport (DfT), with the remaining funds secured from local authority contributions. Newcastle City Council submitted the funding bid on behalf of NECA for the expansion and upgrades to the region’s traffic management network, which was one of 76 successful projects across the country to win a share of £244m (US$322m) in DfT grants.

The new funding will be used to upgrade traffic signals on key regional routes with automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) cameras, variable message signs (VMS) and integration with public transport data from Nexus, the region’s transit operator. The new technology will mean that the cameras can be monitored from the regional Urban Traffic Management Centre (UTMC), allowing officers to adjust signal timings where necessary to improve traffic flow and provide better and reliable journey times to the travelling public.

“This funding is great news for commuters and business and will help cut journey times across the area,” noted Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council and transport lead for NECA. “We have a great facility here in the North East where we work together across the area to monitor the traffic network across local authority boundaries. This new investment means we can connect up traffic signals across key routes, so we can smooth our traffic flows where we see congestion building up, and adjust traffic signals right across the network to keep traffic moving at peak periods.” 

Other NECA schemes to receive DfT funding in the latest round of awards include:

North Tyneside Council – Upgrade and signalise A188-A189 roundabout, and link to UTMC; Sunderland City Council – Introduction of two-way traffic on Northern Gateway; Durham Council – A19/A182 Junction Capacity Enhancements and signal optimisation; Gateshead Council – New bus link and upgraded pedestrian/cycle facilities; South Tyneside Council – New signalised junction at the A194 / B1306;  South Tyneside Council – Lane gain/lane drop arrangement on the A19 approach to Tyne Tunnel. 

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).