Smart Transport

Smart lights keep traffic flowing

Traffic lights at road works

Seven commuter towns across the southeast have benefited from ‘smart’ traffic lights which reduce waiting times for drivers at roadworks.

The new system was successfully trialled by UK Power Networks in Maidstone last summer and is now being used regularly across Kent and Sussex.

The smart element of the ‘autoGreen’ radar system automatically detects congestion and make continuous adjustments to the phasing of the traffic lights to maximise traffic flow – all without the need for an operator’s intervention.

This form of artificial intelligence adapts to the situations it monitors, creating safer, more efficient and less stressful journeys and local environments.

The Maidstone trial revealed that in heavy traffic autoGreen reduced journey times between 8% and 12%, rising to 27% to 41% in congested conditions, with some 15-minute periods cutting journey times by half.

Paul Dooley, streetworks performance manager at UK Power Networks, said: “Our trial in Kent using this technology was well received. We were able to demonstrate the tangible benefits and help to alleviate environmental concerns. There was a greater increase in cars passing per hour. This in turn led to shorter journey times along with an overall improvement in air quality.

“The system accurately tracks vehicle movements and uses this information to optimise the operation of the lights, varying the decision-making algorithms and timings. Our long-term aim is for this type of smart traffic light to be deployed whenever we need to do roadworks that affect traffic across Kent and the other areas that we serve in future."

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