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Monday, 19 April 2021

Faster, more reliable bus journeys in Nottingham as new software allows traffic lights to ‘let buses through if they’re late’

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Buses are one of the most efficient ways of moving people around a city.

Did you know that on Mansfield Road at rush hour buses account for 5% of the traffic but 48% of the people!

 

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However, like other road users buses have to battle, bad weather, traffic, roadworks and other issues that can slow down journeys and lead to delays.

So Transport Nottingham is working on a programme to make buses in the city even better, by improving the reliability of buses at peak times they can shorten journey times and improve the experience for customers.

How does it work?

New funding has allowed them to upgrade the software inside junctions on several main routes in and out of the city including Nuthall Road A610, Mansfield Road A60 and Ilkeston Road A609.

The smart junctions ‘know’ the bus timetables so if a bus is running perfectly to time, they stick to the normal pattern of timings.

However if a bus is running late the traffic lights will automatically change and amend the timings at the junction to prioritise the bus to help them get back on time. Using the latest technology to make travel more efficient.

What about other road users – is it fair to prioritise buses?

Most of the time people in cars and on bikes will be unaffected by these changes, as the traffic signals will run on their normal programme. However, when there are delays prioritising buses benefits the most number of people, with approximately 50 people* in one vehicle having their journey helped compared to the one or two people in private vehicles.

Tickets

They are also offering you more ways to pay, with an update to the on-street Robin Hood ticket machines, new machines at tram stops and the ability to top up via the Robin Hood app.

On street

At the bus stop passengers will see big changes too as they continue to roll out the new look real time displays. These are not only more reliable but will also be more intelligent too and can relay more complex messages in the event of road accidents or weather delays.

What will this mean for passengers?

This will mean that your bus journey will be even more reliable. If traffic or weather have effected your bus improved real time information will inform you of any delays and smart traffic lights will help get your bus back up to speed. Plus there will be more ways to pay for your journey, and smart fares to find you the best price for the route.

In the longer term they hope that these improvements will make buses even more attractive and encourage more people to leave their cars at home and travel on public transport.

Where has the money come from?

All this work to improve bus travel and journey times has been funded through the Transforming Cities Fund.

They were given funding from the Department for Transport to promote sustainable travel and connect workplaces. Part of this funding has been used to improve bus travel along the main routes into Nottingham, so more people can reach places of work and education.

 

*average bus numbers at rush hour pre covid distancing rules.