Mayor of London turns to digital to solve London’s road congestion 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a series of technology-based measures aimed at directly tackling growing congestion on London’s roads and improving reliability for all road users.

Transport for London (TfL) will take immediate steps using new and improved strategic management, technology and communication to tackle the problem of congestion in London head-on. The measures include better communication directly with road users to allow them to plan their journeys, and better collaboration to reduce disruption from roadworks.

Among the tech measures TfL announced are:

Reduce the time taken to clear up unplanned incidents by:

–          Using new data sources including social media and crowd-sourced traffic apps to identify incidents sooner and proactively deploy officers to ensure roads are reopened quickly after a collision or other incident.

–          Trialling the use of new recordable CCTV to assess the benefits of CCTV footage in reducing collision investigation times at a small number of key locations. Investigators will be able to immediately review footage of the incident to help focus the scope of the investigation.

Manage the rising demand for travel on London’s roads by:

–          Doubling the bus priority programme to 150 schemes and linking on-bus GPS with traffic signals to prioritise buses that are behind schedule.

–          Expanding the use of Active Travel Management tools to alleviate and manage congestion away from vital parts of the road network.

–          Rolling out camera detection technology at pedestrian crossings to identify when people are no longer waiting to cross, for example late at night, to reduce the time traffic is held at red lights.

Communicate better with road users to allow people to make more effective decisions about their journeys based on the most accurate and up-to-date information, by:

–          Increasing the number of followers of TfL’s Traffic News Twitter account.

–          Developing more partnerships with technology companies like Waze, app developers and sat nav providers to ensure information on planned road closures, incidents and events is available in advance, getting the information into the hands of drivers when and where they need it.

–          Assessing the pilot of real time traffic messaging on the backs of buses for a potential wider roll-out to provide drivers with better information whilst on their journey.

Ensure that the infrastructure that supports the road network, including traffic signals and road surfaces, are reliable, faults are minimised and repairs are carried out faster, by:

–     Developing a system of “4G Backup” for traffic signals to ensure they can remain under the control of central operations centres in the event of localised connection failures.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “Ensuring people can get around our city easily and efficiently is vital for London’s future prosperity. We need to be much smarter in how we use our roads and tackle the causes of congestion head-on.

“It’s now crucial that these changes are implemented alongside our longer-term plans to make cycling and walking more appealing. Ultimately, while today’s plan sets out some important practical steps, we can only tackle congestion in the long term by making public transport more affordable, and making cycling and walking more appealing choices for all Londoners.”

Related reading