Three quarters back smart city traffic tech

Written by Hannah McGrath
11/01/2019

Nearly three quarters of Brits think that ‘smart city’ infrastructure, such as smart traffic lights and automatic bollard systems, could help to reduce traffic congestion in the UK’s urban centres.

A survey of city-dwellers by Security firm ATG Access found that 65 per cent are frustrated with the levels of congestion. Londoners were the most frustrated with traffic levels, with 76 per cent venting their ire.

The research found that 74 per cent of Brits thought that using data-enabled smart technology could be the most effective way of improving traffic flow and commuter time.

Three quarters (75 per cent) of those surveyed would like to see the implementation of smart traffic lights to respond in real-time to the volume of traffic on the roads, while just over two-thirds (67 per cent) expressed a strong desire for better traffic light control measures during busier times.

The survey found that the public are willing to pay for such smart technology, with more than half (57 per cent) saying they would be happy for a portion of their tax contributions to go towards smart traffic lights in their city.

Smart city technology is currently being developed to tackle other challenges in urban areas, including public transport, air quality, crime levels and emergency response times.

The findings, express growing awareness of Smart City technology, after a similar survey of 1,000 by ATG Access found that 70 per cent of the UK public do not know what a smart city is or the benefits it can bring.

In addition, the most recent survey highlighted changing attitudes to new technology and greener transport options amongst the public, with 37 per cent of those surveyed wanting to see more parking restrictions on busy roads and 40 per cent wanting dedicated cycling and bus lanes during busy times.

Gavin Hepburn, managing director at ATG Access, said the research found a clear public desire for smart traffic control measures, which could ease the daily commute for millions of travellers every day. “Smart city concepts such as responsive traffic flow measures - ranging from smart traffic lights, to programmable smart bollard systems which control traffic - can drive efficiency and drastically cut commuter times.

“Not only does this have the potential to save the economy £9 billion a year, measures such as these can also dramatically improve a cities’ level of air quality.”

A forecast published last year by IDC predicted that spending on smart cities was due to reach $158 billion in 2022, with Singapore, Tokyo, and New York City among top spenders.