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Government invests in tech to tackle traffic congestion

Councils and SMEs will get a share of £1.5m government funding to work on trials aimed at improving driving conditions

Three projects led by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local authorities will get a share of £1.5m government funding aimed at tackling road congestion.

The funding forms part of the £20m fund Govtech Catalyst, which is focused on backing initiatives that address local transport problems through technology. The data-focused projects will be managed for 12 months by the Department for Transport (DfT).

“Transport technology is a growing global sector with the potential to help reduce congestion, emissions and improve connectivity,” said transport secretary Grant Shapps. “[The latest three] competition winners show how world class UK transport tech companies are helping millions of people in our towns and cities every day.”

One of the successful bidders, Vivacity, will be focused on the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole areas. The company develops software that monitors traffic, flagging incidents in real time, allowing traffic control operators to respond quickly and stop traffic jams forming.

Led by IM23, in partnership with Oxfordshire Council, one of the selected initiatives focuses on a tool that predicts and tackles congestion by helping traffic controllers understand how to keep traffic moving while making efficient improvements to their road network. 

Another project chosen to receive the funding is led by York-based SME Inrix, whose software uses vehicle tracks to map vehicle “paths” to optimise and improve traffic signals in the city. The software is hoped to improve traffic flow, reducing journey times, red lights and reducing road rage felt by frustrated drivers.

This follows the announcement of another initiative in December 2019 by the Department for Transport around the creation of a mapping tool for place-based transport data.

In 2019, the DfT also launched a strategy for the future of urban mobility, including priorities for the year, the launch of a regulatory review and a £90m transport innovation fund.

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