Work underway on new 'intelligent transport system' aimed at cutting congestion in South Tyneside

Work is underway on a new ‘intelligent transport system’ aimed to cut congestion and promote sustainable travel by using smart technology on major bus routes in South Tyneside.

Roadworks are underway across South Tyneside.
Roadworks are underway across South Tyneside.

The scheme involves traffic light upgrades and renewal works along the borough’s main transport corridors.

South Tyneside Council said the £1.8million initiative is part of a wider investment in traffic signal control and modernising connections across the North East funded through the region’s Transforming Cities Fund.

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Council chiefs say the upgrades aim to prioritise buses at key junctions to help improve bus reliability and journey times, improve traffic flows, reduce congestion affecting public transport, improve air quality and encourage more people to use public transport.

Work has already started on smaller crossings in the area, with installation work on busier junctions set to continue until March 2023.

Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Transport and Area Management at South Tyneside Council, said: “It’s so important to have robust and reliable public transport infrastructure.

“Through Intelligent Transport Systems we can help to improve people’s journey times, with transport operators also able to provide real-time information to passengers around the location and timings of buses.

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“By using this clever modern technology in our traffic lights system, we will also improve signal co-ordination between junctions and pedestrian crossings, which is great for all road users.

“The scheme also supports the work we are doing to help tackle climate change. Improving traffic flows and tackling congestions will see emissions reduced, air quality improved and will create cost savings through better energy use.

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“We also hope that by making improvements to the transport network we can encourage people to use more sustainable methods of transport instead of their cars.”

Across South Tyneside, 29 junctions which are controlled by traffic lights are being upgraded or renewed with many along main bus routes from Newcastle, Sunderland, the A184 through Boldon and John Reid Road.

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The work is part of a wider regional project to improve bus journey times with an investment of almost £20million from the Transforming Cities Fund.

The project is being led by Newcastle City Council with support from the Tyne and Wear local authorities and involves prioritising bus services on up to 17 strategic bus corridors with up to 300 signal upgrades.

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Councillor Gibson added: “We are delighted to be working with our neighbouring authorities on this initiative to provide better connections across the region and better services for the travelling public.

“We will be doing all we can to keep disruption to an absolute minimum with works in South Tyneside scheduled to avoid peak times wherever possible. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

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Temporary traffic lights will be in operation while works take place.

For further information about South Tyneside’s traffic signals improvements scheme, or the wider regional project, visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/roadimprovements

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The Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) provided the North East region with £208million for transport networks, with encouraging more journeys to be made using sustainable modes of transport such as public transport and active travel (walking and cycling) a key objective.

Transport North East is responsible for the daily management activities of the programme on behalf of the North East Joint Transport Committee and oversees compliance with the region’s Transport Assurance Framework process.