Vivacity Labs partners with TfGM on cycling and walking initiative in Manchester, UK


Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is set to advance its cycling and walking infrastructure programme through the rollout of new technology by Vivacity Labs.

The partnership will see AI-powered sensors installed across the region to capture anonymous data in real time on cycling and walking, helping to assess trends on key roads and junctions.

Data gathered will give TfGM insight into how current active travel schemes, such as segregated cycling and walking routes and priority areas, are being used, while also supporting the planning and implementation of future schemes.

Around 100 sensors will be installed across the region. The sensors will join the existing ‘Smart Junctions’ (also by Vivacity) currently also in operation, creating a network for unparalleled travel data insight in the city. Further installations of the sensors are expected as the programme continues to be rolled out.

Vivacity’s sensors use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to capture anonymous traffic counts in real time across a selected ‘count line’. These counts can show the interactions between pedestrians, cyclists and cars, for example, and provide insights on factors such as number, pathways and speed. The data is completely anonymized and presents no privacy or personal data risk.

“Greater Manchester is investing heavily into its cycling and walking network, and we’re delighted to be progressing our relationship with Transport for Greater Manchester to provide data insights into cycling and walking on a new scale,” says Mark Nicholson, co-founder and CEO of Vivacity Labs. “The datasets will enable TfGM to understand how active travel users are interacting with schemes and evaluate their effectiveness in facilitating walking and cycling. As we adapt to life without restrictions, offering smart, safe and sustainable ways to travel is becoming all the more important, and we look forward to continuing our partnership in achieving this.”

“Giving as many people as possible access to convenient, safe and enjoyable forms of active travel will help us to build on the increases in walking and cycling we have seen during the pandemic,” adds Richard Nickson, TfGM programme director for cycling and walking. “We’ve already made great progress this year in delivering the UK’s largest cycling and walking network and have many more schemes in the pipeline as we look to give people a genuine alternative to the car, reduce congestion and help improve air quality.

“By enhancing our monitoring capabilities, we can more effectively measure the success of this substantial investment and better understand the use of active travel modes across the region to inform our long-term strategy and delivery,” Nickson adds.

Lead image courtesy of Transport for Greater Manchester

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Lauren is a regular contributor to Traffic Technology International (TTi) and a freelance technical journalist. Over the past 15 years, she has worked on a wide variety of B2B publications and websites, including a stint as deputy editor of Traffic Technology International from 2014-2016. She has a degree in English from the University of Exeter. Lauren is mum to two busy little girls. She is always in demand!