West Yorkshire traffic signal integration marks 90th anniversary of pioneering Leeds 'robots'

24 December 2018

In the year that marks the 90th anniversary of Britain's first permanent fully automated traffic lights, in Leeds, and the 150th of the world's first traffic lights being installed in London, the Combined Authority is working with the West Yorkshire districts to bring all the county's traffic signals into one integrated service and common computer system.

Replacing the existing gas light system, the automated electric light system at the junction of Park Row and Bond Street was an important improvement to road safety, taking human error out of the system. Locals nicknamed the lights 'robots'.


Road safety

All West Yorkshire's electronic traffic management systems will be brought under a single combined service. This will enable the team to monitor traffic levels and adjust signals at junctions to create the optimum levels of traffic flow, particularly at peak times and at times of unforeseen disruption. This in turn means more efficient management of congestion and the ability to unlock capacity on the highway network.

Scheduled for completion in Spring 2021, it will mean improved journey times and reliability for all road users and a greater ability to manage unplanned events. The £7.5 million scheme will also support the promotion of economic growth that benefits everyone through the Combined Authority's extensive programme of transport improvement schemes.

Work on the first phase of the scheme will start in early 2019.


Important integration

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said: "With 2018 being the 90th anniversary of the country's first permanent fully-automated traffic light system being installed on Park Row in Leeds and the 150th anniversary of the world's first traffic light being installed outside the Houses of Parliament, it seems appropriate that we are progressing this important integration of the county's traffic signals now."

"Reducing the significant costs of congestion to West Yorkshire and Leeds City Region businesses, helps us achieve our aim of generating economic growth from which everyone can benefit by improving those businesses' opportunities to expand and create new, good-quality jobs."