Kirklees Council has been awarded an extra £250,000 to upgrade and repair traffic signals across the borough, helping improve traffic flow and cut pollution and congestion.
The funding – from the Department of Transport (DFT) – is part of this year’s highway maintenance settlement for English local authorities outside of London with 38 other councils benefitting from the pot of £15 million.
To qualify, Kirklees Council had to provide evidence of current traffic signal maintenance policies and practices, details of strategies and preparedness for future technology opportunities with specific issues around maintenance needs and priorities.
The application process was overseen by the Transport Technology Forum (TTF) on behalf of the DFT and managed by the Local Council Roads Innovations Groups (LCRIG).
Although the council’s initial bid for £442k was unsuccessful, the award that has been received will enable the Highways Team to focus on two areas of work over the following 18 months.
This will include the replacement of 15 obsolete traffic signal controllers, which can no longer be maintained, with up-to-date equipment and connectivity to enable additional remote access and control.
This will allow early diagnosis of faults, if they were to occur, on these sites. These replacements will be in addition to the existing annual programme of replacement and will allow the implementation of emerging technologies on the Kirklees network.
The second work stream is the continuation of the partnership between Kirklees Council, the University of Huddersfield and Simplifai systems allowing further collaboration and development of an artificial intelligence system to supplement and work alongside the existing Kirklees traffic control systems.
Clr Naheed Mather, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “This additional money is very welcome and will contribute to and further support our programme of works to improve traffic signals in the borough, through to March next year.
“This is in addition to the council’s £22m investment in roads over the next two years agreed by Cabinet in May. It also has an important knock-on effect on our other priorities such as active travel, so irrespective of how residents use our roads – whether as a cyclist, pedestrian, driver or user of public transport – everyone will benefit.
“The funding will help cut journey times for millions of people, reduce emissions and help keep Kirklees at the forefront of technological developments.”