West Yorkshire trials optimised traffic signals

West Yorkshire combined authority, in partnership with Dutch mobility consultant, Dynniq, has carried out a study into the benefits that optimising traffic signals could have on emissions.

The trial in the Kirklees district, used data of vehicles passing through a junction on the A62 in Huddersfield to optimise the timing of traffic signal changes.

The trial in Kirklees used data of vehicles to optimise the timing of traffic signal changes

It ensured that “larger and more polluting vehicles were able to pass through the junction without the stop start conditions that produce significant emissions,” the authority said.

Reduction

According to the authority, the trial resulted in a 31% reduction in nitrogen oxides compared with fixed traffic signals timings.

The trial reduces “stop-start traffic conditions” in air quality hotspots, the authority said, and the results are now being shared with partner councils.

The trial was one of a number of measures highlighted by West Yorkshire combined authority (WYCA) as part of its anti-pollution work in West Yorkshire.

Other measures include the introduction of electric council vehicles by Leeds city council, and the delivery of 88 rapid charging points for taxis across Yorkshire.

The latter was made possible in part through a successful £1.98 million bid to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), the authority said. The scheme is forecast to support the conversion of 500 private hire and hackney carriage vehicles to electric.

Evidence

Commenting on the measures, Cllr Eric Firth, deputy chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority transport committee said: “New evidence about the impact of poor air quality on health, particularly that of your young people, is being regularly highlighted with the transport sector coming under increasing scrutiny.

Leeds city council operates a large fleet of electric council vehicles

“In 2017, the Combined Authority adopted the West Yorkshire Low Emission Strategy, which was jointly developed with the five West Yorkshire District Councils and Public Health England, and this report shows the work that’s underway to achieve the Strategy’s aims of reducing the harmful emissions from transport and other sources that impact on health and the environment.

“As well as reducing the 1,000 people estimated to die prematurely each year in West Yorkshire due to poor air quality, this work will contribute to a cut in the £20 billion it costs the UK economy in health care and loss in productivity through absenteeism.”

Funding

The authority also points to two successful funding bids in the region to DEFRA. Kirklees Council received £106,000 on behalf of itself and Bradford, Calderdale and Wakefield Councils to deliver recommendations from West Yorkshire Low Emission Strategy and Bradford Council will be receiving £195,000 for an air quality feasibility study to improve understanding on air quality in the city, the authority notes.

Cllr Firth continued: “We do appreciate that some of these measures, including the introduction of Clean Air Zones, can present challenges to local transport operators and businesses and we are committed to working with our partners to provide support and secure funding that enables this vital work reflecting developments on a national scale, to progress.”