Shawlands Bike Bus traffic light technology wins UK prize

The innovative traffic light technology that helps Shawlands Bike Bus safely navigate a busy Southside junction has won a national award.

The Ultra Smart Cycle System, which gives the lead rider of the bike bus temporary control of the traffic lights at Shawlands Cross, scooped the top prize for an ‘Exemplary Approach to Active Travel and Public Space’ at the National Transport Awards in London.

Created by staff in the council’s Roads team with assistance from Glasgow CC’s technology partner, Smart Technology, the system has been described as a game changer for more than 50 young riders cycling to school and has attracted international interest.

A remote control mounted on the lead rider’s bike allows a green light to be requested from up to 100 metres away and then holds the signal at green for 45 seconds, which gives enough time for the bike bus to cycle safely through the tricky junction. The remote control only works at set times and military grade encryption prevents unauthorised changes to the traffic light sequences.

Councillor Angus Millar, City Convener for Transport, welcomed the award as a fitting tribute for ingenuity the improved road safety for the bike bus, which had previously encountered difficulties at the junction.

Councillor Millar said: “I am absolutely delighted the work in support of Shawlands Bike Bus has been properly recognised at a national level. The Ultra Smart Cycle System is a superb innovation that helps cyclists take control at a challenging junction and travel through it safely.

“Turning out of junctions can be a real challenge and so those extra seconds on the green light make all the difference to the young riders as they move out on to a busy main road.  The bike bus sequence also blends with the usual phasing of the traffic lights and so drivers are much less likely to get frustrated by any wait.

“Creating the safe road conditions that encourage active travel is central to our work to promote sustainable. I hope the technology we’ve developed can be used to support other similar bike bus schemes in future.”

The Shawlands Bike Bus gathers participants from the quiet residential streets in the local area before heading to Shawlands Primary School on Pollokshaws Road. Other measure taken by the council’s Roads team to improve safety for the bike bus include route assessment, banners to route to highlight the bike bus to other road users as well as supplying hi-vis vests , 360 headcameras and winter gear.,

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