The Government has identified three projects to trial new ways of using data generated by transport in towns and cities to improve driving conditions. By calming rush hour traffic and improving road safety and air quality for drivers, it says these trials could reduce a large amount for the UK economy.

The new technology from IM23, Inrix, and Vivacity will each receive a share of £1.5 million Government funding which comes from Govtech Catalyst. The GovTech Catalyst ‘uses a £20 million fund to pay suppliers to solve public sector problems using innovative digital technology.’

The projects will be managed by the Department for Transport (DfT) for 12 months, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps commenting:

“Congestion isn’t just bad for our environment, productivity and communities – it also has a huge impact on our national economy. That’s why, as well as our multi-billion-pound investment in rail and buses to improve connectivity, we are opening up city centre, transport and traffic management to new digital innovators.

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

Working closely with Oxfordshire Council, Technology SME IM23 is creating a tool which predicts and tackles congestion by helping traffic controllers understand how to keep traffic moving while making efficient improvements to their road network.

The transport company Vivacity has developed new, sustainable software that monitors traffic. It flags incidents in real time, allowing traffic control operators to respond quickly and stop traffic jams forming. It’s being rolled out in Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole.

Peter Mildon, Chief Operating officer at Vivacity Labs, says: “Vivacity will be heading a project that looks at how a blend of data sources and predictive machine learning can be combined to provide proactive traffic management tools to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.

“Vivacity are excited to be working with Siemens for this project, with both companies building on work carried out in Phase 1 of the GovTech Challenge.”

Inrix plans to allow traffic to flow more freely and reduce journey times for drivers (as well as stress) by using vehicle track to map ‘vehicle paths’ and improving traffic signals. This technology will be used in York.

Speaking about the plans, James Gilchrist, City of York Council Assistant Director for Transport, highways and environment, said he hopes lessons learned will be shared with other local authorities, adding:

“We are thrilled to be pioneering innovative ways of using data to improve traffic management in the city. This will help us to make better informed decisions, reduce congestion, prioritise road space for sustainable transport and help to increase the reliability of bus services.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with Inrix in this GovTech Challenge project to further explore the Performance Analysis Trajectory Help tool. We have seen real benefits with the early prototype and hope that continuing with this ground-breaking project will lead to a better road network for residents, visitors and businesses.”