39 councils in England have been awarded a share of £15 million additional funding to upgrade and repair of traffic signals, which will make traffic in their areas flow better, and therefore reduce air pollution and congestion.
The extra money from the Department for Transport is part of this year’s Highway Maintenance settlement for English local authorities outside of London, and will be spent on supplementing existing local authority spending on the upgrade and maintenance of traffic signals and associated equipment.
21 authorities received £500,000 each with 18 councils getting £250,000 each. The funding will be used to support programmes of work to March 2022.
All 121 English local authorities outside London were invited to register interest in the additional money, and more than 100 of them did so. In order to qualify, councils were asked to provide evidence of their current traffic signal maintenance policies and practices and required to detail their strategies and preparedness for future technology opportunities, along with any specific issues around maintenance needs and priorities.
The application process was overseen for the DfT by the Transport Technology Forum (TTF) and managed by the Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG).
“This exercise has put a spotlight on the challenge many authorities face to maintain and update the traffic control systems they’ve invested in over the years – it is hugely welcome that the Department for Transport has recognised the value to be gained from providing the funds needed to get them back up to scratch,” commented Transport Technology Forum Chair Steve Gooding. “Whilst the TTF is naturally interested in emerging ideas, we are also concerned not to lose the benefits from existing systems for a lack of day-to-day funding, which can all too easily be overlooked – ideally we’d see this central support from DfT become a standard element of the highway maintenance funding system.”
TTF research discovered there are traffic signals with faulty detectors, configuration and equipment which means systems are not working optimally and therefore full benefits are not being enjoyed. It is It estimated that delay savings of between 10 and 20 per cent are delivered by efficient use of technologies which monitor traffic levels and alter signal timings accordingly. This means faster journeys, less congestion and better support for active travel, which means better air quality and much less driver stress.
The latest traffic signal technology improves efficiency of the road network for all road users, providing better provision for pedestrians, cyclists and vulnerable road users as well as motor vehicles. This helps deliver key transport targets around active travel and air quality initiatives. It also provides a sound foundation for connected and future automated vehicles linking to signals.
Will Britain, President of LCRIG, added, “It will be fantastic to see the results of this important initiative brought to life now that the funding has been awarded. Ongoing maintenance of traffic signals is vital as councils strive to improve road safety, decarbonise and reduce collisions and hazards. This funding will go a long way to helping them make progress in these areas.”
Successful authorities who have been allocated grant funding have now been informed.
As part of the application process applicants were presented with an LCRIG questionnaire and the findings of this will provide an overview of the national status of signals.
A webinar about this will be held by the Transport Technology Forum at 4pm on Wednesday 22 September to support local authorities who have won funding for traffic signals upgrade and maintenance. Winners are encouraged to attend as are other authorities who were not successful in winning funding this time, as they will have the opportunity to understand the benefits and process, which will help them in their application as and when more funding becomes available. Similarly, contractors and consultants are invited to join so they can understand where they may be useful to local authorities during the signals upgrade work.
A representative from each winning authority is also being invited to the popular JCT Traffic Signals Symposium in Nottingham on 15 and 16 September. Winners will be contacted directly in the next few days.
A full list of winners is here
(Picture – TTF)