Commuters have been urged to trial an innovative research app which aims to reduce traffic congestion heading into Coventry City Centre.
The Intelligent Variable Message Systems (iVMS) is the first of its kind in the UK and it is designed to allow motorists to plan their travel along three main roads into Coventry from the M6 – the A46 Binley Road, the A444 and the A4600 Walsgrave Road.
The ground-breaking project, which is known as Dynamic Routing, has received £2.5 million of funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).
The scheme involves a consortium made up of Coventry City Council, which is leading the project, Siemens, HORIBA MIRA, Serious Games International and Coventry University’s Centre for Mobility and Transport and its Centre for Business in Society.
A three-month trial is being launched on Tuesday, November 28 following an investment in upgrading traffic management systems in Coventry to allow drivers to use mobile phone app technology to receive live information about travel hot-spots to better plan their journey, to avoid congestion or improve their journey time reliability.
The app allows users to plan their journey in advance and also takes into account major events taking place in the city and there is an incentive for drivers to complete the set journey away from congested routes through a ‘gamification’ element which provides a reward of free car-parking. One winner will be drawn at random in each raffle automatically by the app.
The iVMS project aims to reduce traffic congestion at peak times, meaning a reduction in delays, queues and pollution, and encouraging other developers of vehicle technology and transport systems to test their research in the city.
Jonathan Browning, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said this exciting project would benefit motorists and network operators since peak traffic congestion could be reduced.
He said: “Improving traffic flow into Coventry City Centre in the usual busy commuting times would be beneficial particularly if there has been an accident on the M6 and alternative routes become blocked with traffic.
“This is real cutting-edge technology being used to help drivers plan a stress-free route by providing them with up-to-date information to make informed choices as well as developing the city’s traffic management system.
“This kind of innovative research is fundamental to future integrated transport projects and will further enhance our area’s reputation in this field.”
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration at Coventry City Council and CWLEP board director, said: “Coventry has a really rich tradition of innovating and the idea that we can use fast moving technology to help keep our roads moving is really great.
“Successful economies need congestion free roads and there is a health spin-off too – as moving traffic is less harmful to air quality.
“I hope local people will want to take part so that they can see how it works and help us to make changes that will improve it for future users.”
The app will be available to download from the Play Store (users will require a Smart Phone operating on an Android platform with a Google account) from November 28 by searching 'ivms'.