AI technology enlisted to help combat traffic jams

Hull City Council is bringing in artificial intelligence experts to help cut traffic congestion and air pollution in the city.

The council has awarded a contract to Huddersfield-based Simplifai Systems Limited to develop traffic management systems aimed at improving traffic flow in and around Hull.

Simplifai Systems works with Dr Mauro Vallati, Professor of AI at the University of Huddersfield, and his research team on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in transport systems.

Councillor Mark Ieronimo, portfolio holder for roads, highways and transportation, said: “This exciting project is an example of how new AI technology can make better use of our existing traffic signal assets and improve how we manage traffic to make the road network safer, greener and more efficient.”

In Hull, the AI technology will access the council’s existing information on congestion, traffic lights, bus movements, incidents and air quality to source new insights into traffic movements on the road network and generate new real-time strategies to solve complex traffic control issues.

The project aims to address traffic problems such as:

  • Alleviating known congestion hot spots
  • Improving the reliability of bus movements on targeted routes or through specific locations
  • Improving management of traffic to and from non-routine occasions such as sporting events, concerts, roadworks or traffic incidents
  • Managing traffic to reduce air pollution where poor air quality is detected

The Simplifai solution will adjust traffic light timings to achieve a particular goal, solving one or more of the traffic problems being addressed, thereby improving traffic flow and road occupancy.

It will be trialled in Hull for two years as part of an ongoing Government-funded traffic signals project.

Keith McCabe, CEO of Simplifai Systems, said: “We are excited about working with Hull City Council to help deliver part of the Smart City technology.

“This builds on our work in the North of England using AI to tap into the data collected by existing systems and turn it into knowledge that can be used by the council to improve the reliability of the transport networks and assist in achieving net zero outcomes.”