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TfL partners with Siemens to revamp traffic network for connected cars

A traffic control system being developed by Siemens and TfL will propel traffic management into the era of the internet of things

Transport for London (TfL) has unveiled plans to develop cloud-hosted traffic controls to replace the existing Urban Traffic Control system.

Due to be delivered in 2020, the system is part of a wider revamp of London’s traffic light controls.

According to TfL, the £1bn system, which will replace London’s 30-year-old traffic control network, will make much better use of road space by optimising traffic light timings to enable more people and goods to move on the capital’s road network with fewer delays.

When the road network is disrupted by an unplanned incident, planned work or events, TfL’s 24/7 control centre will have a more sophisticated tool to help return the road network to normal as quickly as possible, claimed TfL.

Working in partnership with Siemens, TfL said it would be deploying a real-time optimiser (RTO) system with adaptive control algorithms for the traffic network. This work will be completed in stages, starting in 2021.

TfL said the RTO technology would be able to take in a range of new data sources, connect to new types of sensors and support innovation, including sharing data with connected vehicles, which could include autonomous vehicles in the future. Data generated by the system will then be used to better inform road users of current or expected road conditions to support improved journey planning.

TfL said the RTO system would be made commercially available to other organisations, with any revenue received from the sale of the RTO system to be re-invested back into London’s road network.

“This world-leading new traffic management system will be a game-changer for us in London. It will use new data sources to better manage our road network, tackle congestion, reduce delays for people choosing healthier travel options and improve air quality. And by providing our control centre with a tool which supports more effective incident response, everyone will benefit,” said Glynn Barton, TfL’s director of network management.

“Once RTO is successfully introduced, London will be a showcase for intelligent traffic solutions for megacities worldwide,” said Wilke Reints, managing director at Siemens ITS.

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