West Midlands wins £2.6m to help tackle road congestion


Transport chiefs have won more than £2.6 million to help tackle congestion on some of the region’s biggest roads.


Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), was told today (Thursday January 31) that its bid on behalf of Birmingham City Council and Solihull Council for a share of a Government funding pot had been successful.


The money will now be used to analyse patterns of congestion on major roads using CCTV cameras so the effects of various incidents on traffic flows can be better understood.


That will help shape the most effective action to manage the congestion while giving road users up-to-date information and advice so they can plan their route and journeys accordingly.


The anticipated benefits of the TfWM project include better car journeys, improved health through reduced congestion and personalised travel planning through learned patterns of travel behaviour.


TfWM will co-ordinate and oversee the two-year project which will focus on some of the region’s busiest roads, including:

•           Routes directly impacted by construction of HS2

•           Routes directly impacted by Commonwealth Games infrastructure

•           Routes where new Sprint and Metro routes will be introduced

•           Major routes in and out of Birmingham city centre; and

•           Connected and Autonomous Vehicle test bed routes.


Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street said: “I am delighted with today’s decision. The car plays an important role in many people’s lives so it is essential we tackle congestion and speed up journey times for them.


“This pilot will help us improve the information we give to people during delays and help them to make informed decisions during traffic disruption.”


The money was awarded by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) to invest in CCTV to monitor car journeys.


Cllr Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “The next few years will be a period of exciting improvement for the city’s transport networks but we need to ensure that change is planned and delivered in a way that enables everyone to continue travelling in the most efficient and effective way possible during construction work.


“The funding for this programme will be vital in helping us prepare – and I look forward to working with colleagues in Solihull and on a wider regional level to do this.”


Working with existing in-car applications such as WAZE, City Mapper and Google and utilizing the latest advancements in video technology, transport bosses could track point to point car journeys 24 hours a day to enable an early warning system for congestion, based on an individual’s pattern of behaviour.


The learning from the pilot will be used to help shape TfWM’s Regional Transport Coordination Centre due to open next winter.


Cllr Ted Richards OBE, cabinet member for transport and highways at Solihull Council, said: “This is great news for Solihull residents. This two year pilot will help us to help people make sensible decisions about their travel options, using technology to give a clear picture of where routes are congested and keep people moving.”

The West Midlands is one of just six locations nationally to receive funding from ADEPT. The winning proposals were chosen for their drive, innovation and use of new materials in local highways.


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