£2m plan to ease congestion on notorious Leeds road

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A MAJOR Leeds road notorious for its traffic blackspots could be transformed by a £2m smart signalling system that has reduced journey times in London by more than 12 per cent.

Members of Leeds City Council’s Executive Board will be asked to approve the introduction of smart adaptive traffic signal controls on the A65, which runs from the city centre north west via Kirkstall, Horsforth, Yeadon and Guiseley, to reduce delays and congestion at its meeting next Wednesday.

It is hoped the system, which is known as SCOOT - Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique - would also result in improved air quality around the route, which last year was highlighted in a YEP investigation as the second most dangerous in Leeds for cyclists, due to the number of fatal and serious accidents.

It works by controlling traffic lights in response to variations in traffic flow, aiming to reduce the number of stops vehicles need to make. It will also include a bus priority enhancement element, which aims to improve bus journey times, reduced pedestrian waiting times at crossings, and include new real-time information boards for travellers.

The system is already in use in London, where Transport for London says it has delivered an average reduction in delays of 12.7 per cent.

If the A65 scheme proves successful, the council intends on introducing it in other areas of the city. If approved, work will begin from next month, and would take two years to complete. It would be funded through £2.16m from the Department for Transport.

Executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Coun Richard Lewis said: “The SCOOT system has proven to be effective in improving traffic flow and journey times, reducing congestion and improving air quality so it fits perfectly with our Connecting Leeds aims and we are confident it will make a difference in Leeds on the A65 and then potentially on other roads in the city.

“Together with real-time information screens, contactless payments and ticketless travel, the SCOOT signalling system will help us to improve travel and journey times.”