A ground-breaking transport scheme has led to improved traffic management systems on three key routes in Coventry and has supported world-class research and design for future vehicle technology.
The cutting-edge Intelligent Variable Message Systems (iVMS), which is known as Dynamic Routing, has completed a three-month trial in Coventry.
The first of its kind in the UK, this innovative project received £2.49 million of funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).
The remaining £450,000 of funding was provided by the partners involved in the scheme who were project leaders Coventry City Council, Siemens, HORIBA MIRA, Serious Games International and Coventry University’s Centre for Mobility and Transport and its Centre for Business in Society.
Dynamic Routing required traffic management systems in Coventry to be upgraded to ensure drivers could receive up-to-date information about heavy traffic on their mobile phones. This allowed drivers using an app to plan their journey to avoid congestion and prevent delays in reaching their destination.
The app concentrated on providing transport advice to motorists driving along three main roads into Coventry from the M6 – the A46 Binley Road, the A444 and the A4600 Walsgrave Road.
As part of the trial, £700,000 was invested in developing and installing strategically placed traffic infrastructure such as automatic number plate recognition, Bluetooth Radar and CCTV to manage transport flows on the three key routes to provide live in-journey information and guidance to travellers on journey conditions, routes and alternatives.
Cllr Jeff Clarke, portfolio holder for transport and planning with Warwickshire County Council, said upgrading traffic management systems would have long-term benefits.
“The Local Growth Fund has played a significant part in providing the funding to improve traffic signals and communications equipment and its capability at strategic sites across Coventry thanks to all the partners working together in a cohesive manner,” she said.
“The work has included upgrading traffic cameras and installing a wireless communication network that is helping traffic signal controllers pass on up-to-date information to motorists which is particularly important at peak times in the mornings and evenings.
“The result of this investment is that traffic flows can be monitored much easier, which will lead to economic and social benefits since commuters will reach their places of work on time and it will lead to better air quality at key junctions since traffic won’t be standing still.”
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration at Coventry City Council and CWLEP board director, said the Dynamic Routing project has highlighted Coventry as a testing ground for future development of vehicle technologies and transport systems.
He said: “This work is really important – and it certainly hints at the future which will see a range of technology used to keep Coventry, and cities all across the world, moving.
“Coventry is fast becoming a centre for this kind of innovation – leading the way on driverless cars and projects like this one. By working with private, public and higher education sectors we are demonstrating the real value that this technology will bring to motorists, the economy and the environment.
“These are exciting times for the transport sector and building on the work generated by Dynamic Routing will hopefully lead to further research and design to develop future transport technology.”