How do you manage transport in a clever city? Webinar hears you should make sure everything you have works, before you think of adding more technology!

Traffic management experts from both sides of the globe have given members of ITS (UK) and ITS Australia advice on how to manage traffic in a city, saying it’s vital to make sure you optimise existing kit before looking to add anything new.

The joint ITS2 webinar heard from traffic managers in the Australian state of Victoria and British cities of London and Bristol.

Dale Andrea, Chief Transport & Digital Technology at Victorian Department of Transport told the webinar how the city of Melbourne is undertaking the most comprehensive retuning of traffic signals ever which “may be a little bit old school but we know it works”, to which Glynn Barton, the Director of Network Management at Transport for London, commented that London reviews, “one in six of our traffic signal stock every year for timings and scoot parameters,” and that “whenever we have anybody come to talk to us from any city around the world… the first thing I say is, don’t go searching out big bucks for major technology investment, make sure you’re getting the most out of what you’ve gone straight already.”

In Bristol, Principal UTMC Engineer Jackie Davies agreed and pointed out that although the city is much smaller than London, it has the same approach as London, albeit with a much smaller budget and has been a pioneer, “UTC-controllable temporary traffic signals were first tested in Bristol, we did it before anybody else because I was working with the provider who was developing them… We do some quite interesting 5G trials at the moment… and we’re very much leading the research on in-vehicle trials.”

The value of informing the public was also talked about in the webinar with Victoria’s Executive Director – Strategy, Innovation and Data Insights Catherine Rooney talking about her department’s innovation programme which started in February last year.  “We had real time information for customers as one of our initial focus areas, so we had a very strong mandate from senior leadership within the department to do things differently and solve thorny problems,” she said.  “Real time information for travellers on Victoria’s transport network was one of those big problems that leadership had identified.”  She added that when Covid hit “we were asked by government to kind of think of ways that we could inspire confidence and bring people back to public transport at an appropriate time.  We were able to use an innovation approach and that, that sort of growth in that context to do things a bit differently.”

The hour-long discussion also touched on active travel, data analysis, inclusive mobility and business cases.

You can watch the recording of the event here.

(Picture – ITS (UK))

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