York, England Launches City-Wide Real-Time Transport Modeling System

The City of York, England has launched the UK’s first municipal-wide real-time transport modelling system in order to manage its road network. The project is part of the council’s “Smarter Travel Evolution Program – STEP,” which is funded by the UK Government. The project team includes the City of York Council (CYC), consultancy firm Wood Group, PTV Group, and independent strategic modelling experts RelativeGAP. 

Historically, CYC managed the live transport network through staff monitoring CCTV and social media feeds, with Network Monitoring Operators (NMOs) manually implementing new plans and signal changes to ease network issues. With PTV Optima installed in the control room, NMOs can now take a more proactive approach in monitoring and managing the network. The York Optima real-time model provides live prediction of traffic conditions across the City. It combines offline dynamic transport models with live traffic data to provide the control room with a network-wide forecast of current and forecast congestion. Optima also allows the control room to test alternative scenarios for the next hour, day, or weeks into the future. The city reports that it has already reduced travel times by almost 10% in testing areas.

Dave Atkinson, Head of Programmes and Smart Place at CYC, said: “We’re delighted to be the first city in the UK to introduce this innovative and cutting-edge technology to improve journeys and pollution in York. Over the last 12 months we have worked closely with Wood & PTV to deliver the Optima real-time traffic model. At this early stage it’s already proving to be a success. We’re able to predict future traffic levels based on our live traffic behavior and manage the flow of traffic better in busy periods by adjusting traffic lights to best suit traffic conditions.”