Leeds plans for smarter traffic signals

City council plans two-year pilot for system using Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique

Leeds City Council has laid plans to use smart adaptive traffic signals on one of the major roads within its boundaries.

Traffic lightsIt has drawn up plans for a pilot for the use of a SCOOT - Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique – system on the A65 with the aim or improving the traffic flow.

The move is to be submitted to the council’s executive next week, but it has already publicised the plan on its website.

The ‘split’ in the name of the system refers to green light time at each signal, while ‘cycle’ is the time needed to serve all needs at an individual junction point, and ‘offset’ is maximising the co-ordination between one set of signals and the next.

The system works by responding to variations in traffic flow, aiming to reduce the number of stops vehicles need to make. It can also give priority to buses and reduce pedestrian waiting times at crossings.

It is already being used by Transport for London, whose research has shown it has delivered an average general reduction in time delays of 12.7% on roads in the capital.

Real time info

As part of the scheme, new variable message signs will be installed to provide real time journey time information to road users from a monitoring system.

The proposal fits within the broader Connecting Leeds transport and travel strategy for the city, and is aimed at making bus use, cycling and walking more attractive options, and improving air quality.

If approved, work will begin on introducing SCOOT on the A65 from next month and is expected to take two years to complete. The scheme would be funded through £2.16 million from the Department for Transport.

The council said the A65 was chosen for the pilot due to its existing signal locations and bus priority measures, and because it is one of the busiest roads in the city. If it proves successful the system is likely to be introduced in other areas of Leeds.

Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said: “Using the latest smart technologies is a key element of Connecting Leeds, so together with real time information screens, contactless payments and ticketless travel, the SCOOT signalling system will help us to improve travel and journey times so we look forward to seeing it in action.”

Image from the University of Huddersfield