London 'could see traffic lights that prioritise cyclists and buses'
Intelligent traffic light technology that identifies bicycles and buses and gives them priority over cars and lorries could be rolled out in London.
The “smart” lights, which will be trialled in Milton Keynes next year, rely on a network of 2,500 cameras installed on roadsides that scan traffic and recognise different vehicle types.
According to the system’s developers, if cameras detect queuing traffic containing a large number of buses, bicycles or ambulances – it gives a longer green light phase than normal.
Vivacity Labs developers said the system could be tailored to reduce congestion by skipping the right-turn phase in the light cycle if no cars are waiting to turn.
Mark Nicholson, the company’s CEO, said he has been in touch with Transport for London (TfL) about the scheme, and if the trial goes well – it could be rolled out in the capital.
He told the Standard: “We would love to roll it out in London. We will be proving it in Milton Keynes first before we look at other places, but the capital is definitely in our sights.
“We’re seeing more and more congestion on our roads, and this technology is a way of encouraging more people to bicycles and buses instead of clogging up the roads.
“We’re trying also to give local councils much more control, in a nuance way, of their transport systems.”
In the first stage of the £3million project, cameras will be installed across about 50 square miles of Milton Keynes.
They will rely on artificial intelligence to recognise and remember different types of vehicles travelling on the roads.
Initially, the cameras will be used to provide a live traffic jam map and of available parking spaces in the town.
But after 12 months of gathering data, Mr Nicholson said the system will be ready to be linked to a traffic management system.
The Department for Business has poured £1.7 million into the project as part of its drive to make Britain’s cities more efficient using technology.
The lights will be installed from September it is expected they will be up and running within a year.
TfL and Milton Keynes Council has been contacted for comment.