Air quality and traffic management benefits from Innovate-backed project

A new part Government-funded research project in Manchester will produce alerts for road users on air quality data as well as help in managing traffic flows on Greater Manchester’s roads.

The year-long SimplifAI project will explore how Transport for Greater Manchester’s urban traffic control team can benefit from the collection of extra data, including average traffic speed, wind speed, temperature, nitrogen dioxide emissions and route geography, to increase traffic flows in real time, minimise delays and reduce air-borne pollution.

Running until September 2016, the project could ultimately allow TfGM and other transport authorities across the UK to give live air quality information to road users such as cyclists and introduce automated traffic flow management.

Once complete, the project will be subject to review and a decision will be taken on how the findings can influence and improve future traffic management strategies, both in Manchester and across the country.

“Congestion is a significant contributor to air pollution in Greater Manchester and we’re committed to developing new ways of managing the roads to improve air quality across the region,” says TfGM head of highways, Peter Molyneux.

“This project should help us to plan better and make better-informed, real-time decisions when balancing traffic flows on the network or tackling issues such as road closures or major incidents. Ultimately, it could form an important part of our work to keep traffic moving in Greater Manchester, which is essential to the strength of the regional economy and the well-being of our communities.”

The project is being delivered by TfGM, research and development consultancy KAM Futures, the University of Huddersfield, BT and system solutions company INFOHUB. 

It is being funded by a grant of nearly £160,000 from Innovate UK, an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills as well as the Natural Environment Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.