Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered traffic lights will be trialled in Manchester to assess whether they can efficiently reduce pollution and congestion as part of a £30m investment in 5G technology.
The project plans to use intelligent sensors to detect speed, path, journey time and queuing data for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians travelling along the city’s roads.
The sensors, running AI software to collect road data in real-time, will be installed on each junction approach, using 5G technology to send their findings to the cloud for analysis.
This data is fed into yet more AI that controls the traffic lights, helping road users to travel more safely and efficiently.
Greater Manchester has hosted smart traffic light trials for the past three years since the UK government-backed body Innovate UK awarded the University of Huddersfield more than £850,000 to develop a system in 2017.
This latest Smart Junctions 5G project sees AI transport company Vivacity Labs partner with new firm Weaver Labs and Transport for Greater Manchester, backed with more than £1.1m of government funding.
The company’s prior work around smart traffic lights in Manchester had focused on using expensive wired connections to each junction in order to have fast, reliable communications.
By adopting 5G, it hopes to demonstrate that the wired connection can be eliminated, saving money and enabling more efficient traffic lights to be rolled out more rapidly across the UK.
Vivacity Labs has previously held trials in Milton Keynes, using data from parking sensors to power an app designed to reduce the time local businesses spend looking for spots to park.