New funding to upgrade traffic management technology across the region has been announced by the Government.
A total of £3.64m – which includes £2.8m from the Department for Transport – will be invested in helping to cut congestion and improve journey times across the North East Combined Authority (NECA) area.
NECA is the seven councils which serve County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
The funding will be used to upgrade traffic signals on key regional routes with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, Variable Message Signs (VMS) and integration with public transport data from Nexus.
The new technology means the cameras can be monitored from the regional Urban Traffic Management Centre (UTMC), allowing officers to adjust signal timings where necessary to improve traffic flow and provide better and reliable journey times to the travelling public.
Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council and transport lead for the North East Combined Authority, said: “This funding is great news for commuters and business and will help cut journey times across the area.
“We have a great facility here in the North East where we work together across the area to monitor the traffic network across local authority boundaries. This new investment means we can connect up traffic signals across key routes so we can smooth our traffic flows where we see congestion building up and adjust traffic signals right across the network to keep traffic moving at peak periods.
“Providing reliable journey times and improving connectivity across the region is also a real benefit for our local economy as it helps people to access jobs and training and supports the efficient transport of goods.”
Newcastle City Council submitted the funding bid on behalf of the North East Combined Authority for the expansion of the UTMC. It was one of 76 successful projects across the country to win a share of £244m.
The council was awarded £2.8m from the DfT, with the remaining funds secured from local authority contributions.