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Reducing the impact of major roadworks in Edinburgh city centre with SRL’s UTMC solution

Reducing the impact of major roadworks in Edinburgh city centre with SRL’s UTMC solution

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ChallengeThe challenge

The second phase of the scheme to connect York Place with the ports of Leith and Newhaven commenced in November 2019. The new 2.91-mile track will provide eight stops and is scheduled to be completed around Spring 2023 at a cost of £207 million.

With extensive and lengthy roadworks due to take place in the busy city centre during construction of the new tramline, it was essential to minimise congestion and reduce the likelihood of collisions and accidents on the roads.

The City of Edinburgh Council appointed Class One Traffic Management – Scotland’s leading provider of traffic management services – to integrate an effective temporary traffic solution that would reduce disruption, improve safety and give city centre drivers a better journey experience.

The challenge for Class One was how to incorporate a large and complex temporary traffic signal scheme into the council’s permanent UTMC (Urban Traffic Management and Control) controlled network to minimise the traffic impact of the works.

With the works located on the prominent junction of Baltic Street and Constitution Street, which if congested, impacts severely on a nearby major arterial route in the city – the ‘Foot of the Walk’ junction – it was vital that the scheme could seamlessly adapt traffic timings to react to any building congestion.

SolutionThe solution

As well as utilising a permanent UTMC system, the City of Edinburgh Council uses other technologies, including the SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation) real time adaptive traffic signal control. Together, these help to ease traffic flows through the urban network, efficiently managing traffic during peak rush hour periods in the morning and evening when commuters are typically travelling westbound to work and eastbound on the way home.

Having reviewed many options for the scheme, Class One specified STL Traffic Systems’ UTMC,nwhich has been designed specifically to allow local authorities to coordinate temporary and permanent traffic signals and cater for tidal flows during peak AM and PM periods.

Compatible with all UG405 in-stations, SRL’s UTMC solution is configured within the City of Edinburgh Council’s permanent UTMC system. It works by connecting the SRL UTMC controller with a Chameleon OTU (Outstation Transmission Unit) via 4G (although connectivity is also possible via 3G and ADSL fixed line) to replicate the method of control and monitoring of the council’s permanent signals.

The SRL UTMC system is particularly useful if works are likely to run for a prolonged period, which will cause disruption for several days, and it also eliminates the need for an operative to be on site to control the lights.

When a command is received from the council’s UTMC system via the Chameleon OTU, the SRL UTMC controller then services those commands by communicating with all the temporary signals on the junction – effectively synchronising with the permanent signals so traffic flows smoothly.

SRL’s UTMC is flexible and can adapt to changing layouts as the scheme develops. This particular junction has had more than 10 layout updates since 2019, most recently reconfiguring from controlling eight SRL temporary signals (two double headed two-way traffic lights and two pedestrian crossing points) to 12 signals (three double headed three-way traffic lights and three pedestrian crossing points).

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“This high-profile project has been challenging, and it was essential for us to improve the capacity of the busy city centre junction and improve journey times for motorists. I’ve worked with SRL for 12 years now and they have always been very responsive to our needs, so we had no hesitation in using them on this project. SRL’s UTMC system was ideal for this scheme and it has synchronised perfectly with the council’s permanent UTMC to significantly minimise the impact of roadworks during a lengthy project.”

Simon Philipps

Traffic Management Engineer

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