TfL to conduct green light trials for cyclists

12.00 | 8 June 2015 | | 1 comment

Transport for London (TfL) has announced a ‘world first’ trial of new technology designed to give cyclists more time on green lights.

The trials, which are taking place in London on Cycle Superhighway 3, detect the numbers of cyclists travelling along a route, which enables the traffic signal timings to be adjusted to give more green time when there are high numbers of cyclists.

TfL is testing two types of new technology – one radar based and one thermal based, which detects the heat of riders as they enter the detection zone. Three additional trials will be carried out along the cycle superhighway network to test both technologies with different junction designs.

Subject to the outcome of the trials, TfL will look to expand the use of the technology, and integrate it into the SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique) signalling system which manages traffic flows across London on a second-by-second basis.

More than half of all junctions in London now use SCOOT technology, which uses sensors buried in carriageways across London to detect real-time traffic conditions and optimise traffic light timings to reduce delays.

Last year, TfL carried out trials of pedestrian SCOOT which uses detectors to calculate how many people are waiting to cross the road and extend the green time to reflect demand. TfL is assessing the findings from the trials before deciding whether to introduce this technology more widely.

TfL has also received ‘blanket approval’ from the DfT to install low-level cycle signals at traffic signals where they would deliver benefits. This is the first time a UK highway authority has been given this approval and means that the signals, which are common place in continental Europe, can be installed as part of Cycle Superhighway works being carried out across London.


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    I was under the impression that the “primary” reason for the low level smaller signal head sited on the nearside signal pole in continental Europe was to act in replacement of a “secondary” head mounted higher up but on the far side of the junction as we have in the UK? A car driver who is the first in the queue at the signals cannot see the primary head but relies instead on the low level ones. Most secondary heads are visible to cyclists from a stop line I would have thought so there may not be many instances where visibility to the signals is increased but may be cheaper than far side secondary heads? Maybe they will appear on cycle lane approached to main carriageways?

    Nick, Lancashire
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