TfL trials cyclist detection systems at traffic lights

New smart city technology in London aims to give cyclists more time on green lights and improve traffic flow for all road users.

The technology is designed to detect the number of cyclists travelling along a route and adjust the traffic signal timings accordingly, giving more time on green when there are high numbers of cyclists at key junctions during peak times.

Transport for London (TfL) is trialling two types of new technology at selected junctions in the city: one radar based system and one thermal based, which detects the heat of riders as they enter the detection zone. These tests will measure how effective the systems are in detecting cyclists.

If successful the technology could be introduced across London, allowing the timings at traffic signals to reflect demand on a second-by-second basis.

These hugely innovative trials are another major step forward to create roads designed for all types of road users, commented Garrett Emmerson, chief operating officer for Surface Transport at TfL.

By having traffic signals that are able to detect when there are high numbers of cyclists waiting at junctions, we can ensure they are given adequate time and safe passage through the junction, balancing the needs of everyone.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, also welcomed the trials. He said: Once again London leads the way as we host world-first trials of technology that has the potential to bring significant benefits to cyclists.

With record numbers taking to two wheels we are doing everything we can to make our roads more inviting places to be. This is another great example of how TfL can harness the power of innovation to help make it easier for everyone to get around our city.

The new cycle detection trials build on TfL’s Pedestrian SCOOT trials, which give people more time to safely cross the road when there are large numbers of pedestrians.

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