Exeter City and Devon County Council have started a two-year project aimed at helping them better to understand travel behaviour in and around the city.
The twin councils have joined forces with a group of traffic specialists and technology developers, led by Japan-based IT services provider NTT Data.
The Engaged Smart Transport project will use real-time data from traffic and weather sensors, combined with information from other sources including eyewitness and behavioural research, to help the councils locate and respond to traffic congestion faster, and then take steps to prevent recurrences.
Exeter is preparing its transport system for thousands of new residents
NTT DATA public sector head, Anna Price said: 'The project is a first-time investment by our R&D department here in the UK. I'm really thrilled to be applying our Japanese smart transportation expertise to helping the people of Exeter.'
Imtech Traffic & Infra will provide the ITS-based core for the project, using environmental sensors from Finnish company Vaisala to deliver data on weather and road conditions.
Digital solution provider Black Swan will be inputting trend analysis, prediction and citizen engagement via social media, while a team from the University of Exeter is providing the behavioural research into travel decision-making.
The background is the fact that Exeter is planning by 2026 to deliver 12,000 new homes, 60ha of fresh business capacity and 40,000m² of additional retail space, all of which will put further pressure on the city's existing infrastructure and public transport.
Traffic levels and journey times are currently unpredictable, despite traffic management measures.
Development lead councillor, Rachel Sutton said: 'The project outcomes will enhance the lives of residents and commuters and help the local economy to thrive, while supporting our public health efforts to reduce avoidable vehicle emissions.'