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Birmingham, UK, plans “Intelligent Transport” project

Birmingham, UK, could be at the forefront of urban technology development if a multimillion-pound transport project, backed by a public and private consortium, goes ahead. The scheme, called “Intelligent Transport”, is claimed to be the first IT-led initiative to address urban issues relating to transport, tourism, security and climate change in the UK. The initial phase of the project will combine data on transport areas including traffic congestion, car park availability and bus scheduling, to provide individual, location-specific tracking information, which could speed up travel times and reduce environmental impact.

The integrated information network, which comprises Birmingham Science City Partnership, Birmingham City Council, Digital Birmingham, Coventry University Enterprises, Microsoft and Virtual Earth developer Shoothill, covers services geared at motorists, public transport and pedestrians. Under the initiative, drivers could choose fuel-efficient routes, avoiding heavy traffic and find the nearest car park with available spaces, by using real-time travel information relayed to in-car systems. Pedestrians and public transport users would be able to use cellphones in the same way as car-based GPS systems and have access to bus stop walking routes and timetables.

“Birmingham has an ambitious integrated transport policy and the logical progression of this concept would put the citizen, business person or visitor firmly in the driving seat,” says Birmingham councilor, Len Gregory, cabinet member for transportation and street services. “Digital technologies are vital to our vision of an intelligent city and, with transport affecting the life of virtually everyone in the region, there's no better place to start.” The consortium is in talks to develop a pilot scheme along the A38, which is one of Birmingham's busiest commuter roads, to demonstrate the project’s potential in easing heavy traffic flow and reducing carbon emissions.
 

May 28, 2009

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