Innovation and changeDigital TransformationNew smart signalling system for Leeds

New smart signalling system for Leeds

Senior councillors in Leeds will be asked to approve the introduction of new 'SCOOT' technology to improve traffic flow

Senior councillors in Leeds will be asked to approve the introduction of new technology to improve traffic flow on one of the busiest roads in the city at a meeting next week.

Proposals to implement smart adaptive traffic signal controls on the A65 to reduce delays and congestion resulting in improved air quality will be considered by Leeds City Council’s executive board at its meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday 21 March.

The system recommended to be introduced is known as SCOOT, which stands for Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique. The split refers to green light time at each signal, cycle is the time needed to serve all needs at an individual junction point, and offset is maximising the co-ordination between one set of signals and the next.

The system works by responding to variations in traffic flow, aiming to reduce the number of stops vehicles need to make. It will also include a bus priority enhancement element, which aims to improve bus journey times as well as reliability, and reduced pedestrian waiting times at crossings.

The system is already in use in London, where Transport for London research has shown it has delivered an average general reduction in time delays of 12.7 per cent on roads in the capital.

As part of the scheme, new variable message signs will be installed to provide real-time journey time information to road users from a monitoring system.

The proposal fits within the broader Connecting Leeds transport and travel strategy for the city, with the SCOOT system helping to improve traffic flow for all road users and pedestrians as well as bus journey times and reliability. Its successful introduction will make bus use, cycling and walking more attractive options supported by improved air quality from reduced congestion and vehicle emissions.

The A65 is considered ideal as a pilot for SCOOT in Leeds due to its existing signal locations and bus priority measures. If it proves successful on one of the busiest roads in the city, the intention is for it then to be introduced in other areas of Leeds.

If approved, work will begin on introducing SCOOT on the A65 from next month, taking two years to be completed. The scheme would be funded through £2.16m received from the Department for Transport.

Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said: “The SCOOT system has proven to be effective in improving traffic flow and journey times, reducing congestion and improving air quality so it fits perfectly with our Connecting Leeds aims and we are confident it will make a difference in Leeds on the A65 and then potentially on other roads in the city.

“Using the latest smart technologies is a key element of Connecting Leeds, so together with real-time information screens, contactless payments and ticketless travel, the SCOOT signalling system will help us to improve travel and journey times so we look forward to seeing it in action.”

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