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Cambridge plots traffic light revolution

lights170810Cambridge could be set for a ‘traffic light revolution’ following an investigation of its existing signals to identify improvements aimed at making traffic flow more efficiently.

Work is currently underway to review each of the city’s 184 traffic lights – an exercise that is being funded by the delivery body for its City Deal, the Greater Cambridge Partnership. Updates to the traffic signals could include for example bus prioritisation, enabling lights to change to green when an approaching bus is detected.

“While all traffic signals in Cambridge are able to detect vehicles and cyclists and around 40 are automated and use underground detectors to monitor and manage congestion, a full review will identify where existing sites need upgrading or refining,” said interim transport director for the City Deal Chris Tunstall.

“Our aspiration is to develop the most efficient traffic light system in the UK, which offers selective priority and eases traffic flow at all times of the day. This will have the dual effect of improving journeys and also help to manage air pollution associated with idling engines.”

The full review is expected to be completed with recommendations in the Autumn. It forms part of wider plans to ease peak time gridlock in the city and make it easier to travel by public transport, cycle and on foot.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership is also exploring the use of new and digital technology to make travel easier and reduce congestion through its Smart Cambridge programme, including intelligent mobility and smart signalling.

Chair of the Partnership’s Executive Board Francis Burkitt said: “We want a traffic light revolution in Cambridge, and we want Cambridge to have the smartest traffic lights in the UK.”

He added: “We need to look at the best technologies currently available, and perhaps use some of our world class Cambridge brains to develop new ones; and we need to see what other leading edge cities do.”

Photo: James Bowe / Creative Commons