Nearly £1m invested in traffic control tech to help keep Bucks moving

  |  Published: Mar 28th 2018
Paul Irwin, photo courtesy BCC
Paul Irwin, photo courtesy BCC

In 2017-2018, approximately £960k was spent on long-term improvements to Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and traffic signals across Buckinghamshire. This included £462k invested in seven refurbishment schemes to replace traffic signals due to their age and condition.

Transport for Buckinghamshire’s ITS team is responsible for managing and maintaining all of the intelligent technology on the roads in the county. This includes traffic signals, automatic bollards, vehicle activated signs, variable message signs and CCTV on the roads.

The ITS team works to make sure drivers and pedestrians get safely from A to B in the shortest time possible for their journey, by using a range of technologies and control strategies. The team also works behind the scenes to advise developers on the best signals for new road junctions. Ultimately, the team works to provide effective and safe signals for every road user – not just drivers, but pedestrians, cyclists and even horse riders too!

Five of the seven refurbishment schemes were to convert Pelican crossings to Puffin crossings. These upgrades help both pedestrians and drivers, as Puffin crossings do not delay traffic as much - and less waiting time for cars means less congestion on the roads, which is always a positive.

The remaining two refurbishment schemes were to the signals at Marsworth canal bridge, and at the railway bridge in Lent Rise Road, Burnham. 

In focus: George Green scheme, Wexham

In addition to the seven refurbishment schemes, £498k was spent on upgrading the traffic signals at Church Lane and George Green Road in Wexham, with work starting in the autumn of 2017. The upgrades were designed to improve the journey along the road as the ITS team can now check the site conditions and make improvements on a day to day basis. The team is now able to survey site faults from the control room at County Hall in Aylesbury, using CCTV to check and manage congestion along the road. While the CCTV can’t detect specific number plates or identify people, it can show if there is a build-up of traffic, an accident or another problem on the road and the effect of any interventions put in place.

In addition the scheme has  been designed to allow Slough Borough Council to operate the corridor more effectively once their signal upgrades are complete.

The scheme took 10 weeks to complete, taking place under lane closures, and came in under budget. The A412 at George Green was also fully closed for five nights to allow for safe working.

Whilst this was predominantly a traffic signals scheme, the TfB Street Lighting, Maintenance and Structures teams all took advantage of the road closure to carry out repairs and improvements. Team working like this means fewer road closures are needed in Buckinghamshire, and offers great value for money and less inconvenience to the public. 

Future Investment:

The hard work of the ITS team has been paying off, because they have been key in helping to secure significant additional funding from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF). This funding, granted to the County Council, has been awarded to two major ITS Schemes in Buckinghamshire. £2.19 million of the funding will be spent on making corridor improvements on the A418, Oxford Road in Aylesbury. The remaining £4.13 million will be spent on making improvements to the A40 London Road in High Wycombe.

Both schemes will achieve improvements to congestion, traffic flow, reliability of buses, and create more accessible routes in pedestrian areas.

Paul Irwin, the County Council's Deputy Cabinet Member for Transportation, praised the ITS Team for their hard work:

“The ITS team has completed some excellent projects this year. They are sometimes the invisible team at TfB because they do so much from their control room where they are on duty every day, keeping an eye on traffic. Without them there would be far more congestion issues.

Paul added: "I’m really pleased the additional funding has been secured and I’m confident the schemes that follow will be crucial in managing the movement of traffic in the future, not only for people on the roads but for our pedestrians too. This extra funding is well deserved and an acknowledgement of the team’s hard work and collaboration with colleagues.”

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