As part of this year’s highway maintenance settlement for English local authorities outside of London, the UK Department for Transport (DfT) has announced a £15m allocation to supplement existing local authority spending on the upgrade and maintenance of traffic signals and associated equipment.
The new money for the 2021/22 financial year is available to authorities to address a backlog in traffic signals maintenance and to prepare technology used on local roads for the challenges of connected and autonomous vehicles, new mobility and opening up data.
The Transport Technology Forum (TTF) and Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG) are supporting the DfT on the project. Research by the TTF highlighted to the DfT areas around signals maintenance that would benefit from extra funding, building the case for the allocation. Local authorities will be invited to apply for the money this month using dedicated pages on the LCRIG website.
The process involves authorities demonstrating the policies they have in place for using their traffic signals, existing maintenance programmes and their aspirations for the future.
The DfT is now writing to the chief executives of all English highways authorities and will work with the TTF, LCRIG, ITS UK and other industry bodies to promote the new funding. The LCRIG website, which has dedicated pages for each local authority, is hosting the questionnaire where authorities can submit their application.
“This is a welcome sign of the TTF making a real difference,” said TTF chair Steve Gooding. “The TTF’s work revealing the present state of performance of traffic signal systems – in particular the roadside data on which they depend – has been instrumental in building the case for this funding to be provided.
“Whether all the changes in our travel patterns through the many months of Covid-lockdown will be sustained remains to be seen, but the growth in home-working and home deliveries both suggest that now is the perfect time for authorities to review and, as necessary, retune the settings of their traffic signals and check to ensure they are working as effectively as possible.”
The application process via the LCRIG website will run for four weeks and will open on 12 April. The closing date for applications is 7 May. The DfT will issue further detailed information about the application process following the Easter break.
The funding must be spent in the year 2021-22.