AI in mobility: UK data release could alleviate congestion

ai in mobility
© iStock/MarioGuti

The UK government has announced plans to deploy AI in mobility to help drivers to avoid potential traffic jams and roadworks.

The government has proposed a review of legislation around Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs), which place restrictions on UK road networks to enable maintenance to take place. The proposal is geared towards making data on TROs more widely available earlier in the process, in order to draw attention to potential traffic issues up to months in advance. Tech firms allowed access to the data will then be able to provide up-to-date advance warnings of traffic disruption and road closures through apps using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to inform drivers of alternative routes: by deploying AI in mobility navigation apps, drivers will be able to save time, money and fuel emissions through avoiding becoming stuck in stationary traffic.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is set to partner with local authorities and the connected and automated vehicle sector to explore the possibility of implementing its proposal for facilitating access to road closure data: the UK experiences around 50,000 road closures per year; and it is expected that providing comprehensive, accurate advance information to drivers will drastically reduce the congestion these closures cause. Releasing data sooner and more widely could also potentially provide support to route planning systems used in autonomous vehicles, thereby aiding the UK’s efforts to become a world leader in implementing AI in mobility. The review supports the UK government’s Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, which aims to examine current legislation affecting matters of transport and mobility to determine whether it can be further optimised to meet the potential of emerging and future technology.

Minister for the Future of Transport George Freeman said: “As a road user, there is nothing more frustrating than discovering roadworks and getting stuck in traffic jams. Today’s announcement will help open up data, reducing congestion, pollution and frustration for road users.”


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