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Added on: 20th June, 2011
Motorists arriving in Barnsley are being welcomed by electronic signs helping to ensure that their trip is as decongested and uniterrupted as possible.
Nine innovative new electronic variable message signs on the majority of Barnsley's main routes give motorists traffic information to improve their journeys. The system was launched at the June meeting of Barnsley Voice by Gary McNaught from the Council's Highways Department, and business leaders expressed their unqualified support for the scheme which places Barnsley in the top 5 of all town centres for traffic management systems.
Barnsley Council has been working in partnership with Siemens Traffic Controls on the signs which will display journey time and route congestion level messages generated automatically using the council's Urban Traffic Control system.
This will be the first time in the UK that congestion information has been displayed on signs using a fully automated system. Average journey time information is produced using cameras mounted on the top of the signs - these do not record any images and cannot be used as speed cameras.
The signs, which have been switched on following extensive testing, will also display information about events which would have an impact on the road network and are likely to cause congestion, delay or danger to motorists, for example road accidents, road works, football matches, town centre events, flooding or road closures.
They will give drivers the latest up-to-date travel information to assist them in planning their journey, enabling them to take a more informed decision on which route to take, thus avoiding congestion or accident hotspots. In turn this should lead to improvements in vehicle journey times, reduction in vehicle emission, fuel consumption and driver frustration.
Work in underway to enable similar information to be displayed on the council's website as a traffic and travel page. Information and locations would be pinpointed via interactive map icons, with examples being accidents, incidents, events, road works and road journey times. The data will be updated every five to ten minutes to ensure information is current and useful.
This will allow people to check their usual travel route for problems before setting off on their journey and make appropriate changes where needed to avoid traffic hotspots.
Future additions to the traffic and travel web page will be CCTV snapshot images showing major road junctions - especially useful during periods of snow or flooding or accident diversions. There will be interactive information about upcoming road and utility works.
The signs are currently located at:
• A633 Wombwell Lane/Tesco's
• A635 Doncaster Road (Ardsley Hill)
• Shambles Street - towards Townend roundabout
• A628 Dodworth Road/Junction 37 M1
• A61 Sheffield Road/near Mount Vernon Road
• A61 Sheffield Road (Birdwell) Junction 36 M1
• A61 Wakefield Road (Staincross)
• A61 Old Mill Lane
• A628 Pontefract Road, near Cudworth Bridge
The system is expandable and additional signs can be added or existing ones moved in the future, if required.
The signs and bespoke software to link the different systems and display as web information cost £340,000 and was funded externally by The Community Infrastructure Fund and Congestion Reward Fund.