Councils in the North East of England are to spend £3.64m upgrading traffic management technology, backed by £2.8m from the Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund.
The investment aims to cut congestion and improve journey times across the North East Combined Authority (NECA) area, which covers County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Traffic signals on key regional routes will be upgraged with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, Variable Message Signs (VMS) and integration with public transport data from regional transport provider Nexus.
The new technology means the cameras can be monitored from the regional Urban Traffic Management Centre (UTMC), allowing officers to adjust signal timings where necessary to improve traffic flow and provide better and reliable journey times to the travelling public.
Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council and transport lead for NECA, said: ‘This funding is great news for commuters and business and will help cut journey times across the area.
‘We have a great facility here in the North East where we work together across the area to monitor the traffic network across local authority boundaries. This new investment means we can connect up traffic signals across key routes so we can smooth our traffic flows where we see congestion building up and adjust traffic signals right across the network to keep traffic moving at peak periods.
‘Providing reliable journey times and improving connectivity across the region is also a real benefit for our local economy as it helps people to access jobs and training and supports the efficient transport of goods.’
The funding bid, which was one of 76 projects across the country to win a share of £244m, was submitted by Newcastle on behalf of NECA. The additional cash came from local authority contributions.