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RoadLab 2.0 temporary signals impact

16 Dec 2022

TfL hopes RoadLab 2.0 will cut temporary signals impact

Transport for London (TfL) hopes to reduce what it accepts is the significant impact of temporary traffic signals on the capital’s road network through the RoadLab 2.0 project.

It will search for up to eight innovators to develop “new ways of tackling some of the issues caused by roadworks.” Funding is from the Lane Rental Scheme, which charges utility companies and TfL contractors for digging up roads at the most traffic-sensitive times and locations, with an aspiration of reducing congestion around temporary signals. 

More than 20,000 portable traffic signals are used each year in London. TfL acknowledges that they result in thousands of hours of lost productivity, wasted time and excess emissions, with 80% of bus delays caused by roadworks for construction and utilities. It wants to see “innovative solutions” to reduce delays, increase efficiency and make the signals more reliable. 

RoadLab 2.0 follows the original RoadLab challenge. TfL claims that some solutions developed via that previous round have cut congestion. Among them is simulation technology to model roadworks, and artificial intelligence software that uses anonymised social media data to detect emerging disruptions. 

Innovators chosen via RoadLab 2.0 will receive up to £20,000 of funding to enter a 12-week trial phase. Access will be granted to TfL expertise to help them develop their products. Those proposals that work effectively may then be provided with further funding in future to make roads in London “safer and more efficient,” TfL continues. 

Additionally, RoadLab 2.0 will look at ways in which TfL can better utilise data on walking and cycling to plan roadworks. Head of Open Innovation Rikesh Shah says working in partnership with innovators “brings in new ideas at scale.” The closing date for entries is 23 December.

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