West Midlands to roll out 5G-connected road sensor network

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and West Midlands 5G (WM5G) have announced plans to establish a 5G-connected road sensor network to relay traffic information.

The new £5.8m 5G network will relay live traffic information to the regional control centre enabling TfWM to take actions including diverting buses and implementing diversions as queues build up. In the long-term, the duo claim that they will use the traffic data gathered to “help plan future transport development”.

In its first phase, the project aims to “capture a more granular picture of traffic flow” through the deployment of 5G enabled sensors, radar and cameras across A and B roads in the West Midlands.

After the initial data gathering phase, TfWM and WM5G will deploy 280 sensors provided by technology companies Vivacity and Vaisala across the seven constituent authorities of the West Midlands Combined Authority area collecting data up to March 2022.

According to TfWM, the Key Route Network from where they are collecting data covers 7% of the roads in the region but more than half of all traffic causing several “congestion hotspots”.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This sensor network is yet another example of how the West Midlands is at the forefront of 5G technology and the cutting edge of transport innovation.

“5G is far more than just quicker streaming of movies, and this work shows the difference it will make to people’s everyday lives across the region. The road sensor network project will form a key part of planning and developing our future transport network, allowing us access to data that would otherwise have not been possible without 5G.”

WM5G is a multi-million-pound programme that both the WMCA and DCMS set-up to develop the UK’s first region-wide 5G testbed. The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), has been working with partners such as WSP, Siemens, Earthsense and Vodafone in delivering the project.

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