£70 Million Made Available to Local Authorities to Improve Traffic Signalling Systems

The Department for Transport has introduced it’s ‘Plan for Drivers’ with a £70 million investment to improve traffic signal efficiency. This aims to enhance travel fluidity, reduce congestion, and ensure quicker commute times.

The UK Government’s ‘Plan For Drivers’ Policy

In launching the Department for Transport’s Plan for Drivers, Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport, has earmarked £70 million to make traffic signals more efficient, increasing journey smoothness.

Traffic lights are crucial for the efficient and safe operation of road intersections. Assisting local governments in refining their traffic management can enhance urban traffic fluidity. By leveraging technology, we can smartly control traffic, minimize congestion, decrease the duration drivers linger at red signals, and expedite travel times. A significant number of traffic lights haven’t been upgraded since their inception, resulting in undue delays and inefficient use of road areas. Presently, approximately 50% of England’s traffic signals operate below their best performance

England’s Traffic Management Funding Breakdown: Opportunities for Local Authorities

Local authorities in England can claim a share of this fund, which is divided into different areas.

  • £30 million available through a Traffic Signals Obsolescence Grant (TSOG) to upgrade traffic signal systems, replacing unreliable and obsolete equipment to improve reliability
  • £20 million Green Light Fund (GLF) to tune up traffic signals to better reflect current traffic conditions and get traffic flowing
  • £20 million Intelligent Traffic Management Fund (ITMF) to deploy advanced technology for traffic signals, making use of emerging technologies to optimise traffic flow and balance traffic across city centres.
  • £10 million of the TSOG will be paid out through the transport metrics within the Integrated Transport Block (ITB) formula,
  • £20 million of the TSOG, plus the other two £20 million payments, will be awarded through challenge processes opening this autumn.

Maximising Traffic Efficiency: Navigating the Transport Technology Forum’s Funding Opportunities

The Transport Technology Forum has given details of how local authorities might claim a portion of this fund to improve traffic signals in their area.

For the TSOG and GLF, money will be awarded in £500,000 lots using the same process as used for the 2021 Traffic Signal Maintenance allocation.  Authorities may be restricted to only one of the funds.  For the ITMF, there will be one challenge process similar to the 2021 Traffic Signals Maintenance allocation, where 39 authorities were awarded either £250,000 or £500,000.

Local authorities might consider using the Traffic Signals Obsolescence Grant to replace older traffic signal systems equipment, including communications equipment and controllers. The Green Light Fund is for improving traffic signal systems to better reflect current traffic conditions and the Intelligent Traffic Management Fund gives local authorities a chance to engage with emerging technologies to optimise traffic flow and balance traffic across city centres.

Without a reliable traffic/road user monitoring system, local governments will struggle to make informed, evidence based decisions about how best to increase the efficiency of their traffic signalling systems. Digiflec understand that the current challenges faced by local authorities and communities are centred round making the best use of our available resources (material resources, but also time and financial resources) to ensure that everyone has a good standard of living.  Local authorities are under particular pressure to ensure that public money is put to the best possible use.

Revolutionising Urban Traffic Management: Digiflec’s CiiM System and the Power of LiDAR-Driven Insights

Digiflec’s Connected Intelligent Infrastructure Monitoring (CiiM) system uses LiDAR sensors installed so that they can ‘see’ a key area. The sensors collect dynamic spatial data about vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, displaying their speed and the direction they’re heading. This active tracking of patterns enables local authorities to understand accurately how the area is being used, with a level of detail that has never been achieved before. The data can be seen in real time, and it is also stored so that it can be used to gain insights about how the area is used through time, and measure the impact of any changes which have been implemented.  The use cases differ for how the data might be used in real time or retroactively.

Data and data visualisation are already key components of the urban design process, and CiiM opens up possibilities for taking this to new levels of depth and precision, allowing for more confident and creative urban design through the uncovering of complex patterns of activity. It could be useful to have data about how an area is used by cyclists, for example, to help understand how an area might be made more user-friendly for active travellers with a minimum of disruption.

In real time, the data might be used for a number of ‘smart’ applications including traffic light control optimisation and the creation of smart intersections, Parking/Loading/EV charge bay occupancy and duration, and measuring taxi and bus stop occupancy/demand and identify in real time when services are needed.

In essence, traffic control signals are essential tools in managing the complex interactions of vehicles and pedestrians within a transportation network. When properly designed, timed, and maintained, they contribute significantly to road safety and efficient traffic flow, and they can best be optimised through comprehensive and reliable data about road use.

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