Southwark: Shift to real-time traffic management

Southwark is a borough in the Greater London area with a population of 318,000. It is a complex area that suffers from heavy traffic, but in spite of this no centre exists monitoring the traffic in real time. One of the options in order to remedy this problem was to call on TMaaS. Pip Howson, Southwark Transportation Policy Team Leader, provided us with some information and explanations. 

Why did Southwark submit an application to become a Replicator City?

Pip Howson: “Southwark recognises that, as real time traffic management will be a fundamental tool to improve the management of both congestion and road safety, the information provided by the TMaas project is offering important evidence and experiences. It can enable our progress meeting the challenges faced by the climate change emergency and the vision zero road safety target. In addition to a number of other projects on which we are collaborating, TMaaS offered us a great opportunity to try out some exciting ideas. We integrate all the information we gather from working on projects such as TMaaS into our own Flux Project. Our aim in so doing is to modernise our public highway management and our traffic enforcement. In that respect TMaaS is an interesting model or benchmark for the way we ourselves want to move ahead. Not only that, but the partnership gave us more insight into the possibilities for working flexibly with other systems. Collaborating is very educational and enables us to discover new models.”

Why is the shift to real-time traffic management essential for Southwark?

Pip Howson: “We suffer from extremely heavy traffic and all the problems that are inherent with that. Real-time traffic management is a must for that alone. Apart from that, there is also the emergency situation around climate change. In this context too, automated traffic management is a key element that can make an important contribution to the fight against traffic congestion, pollution, etc. TMaaS offers opportunities in that area too. Thanks to the system we are able to ascertain the conditions resulting in traffic accidents for instance. The project was also accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis. This wasn’t a factor to be taken into account at the start of the project of course, but it does magnify the importance of the project. Real-time traffic management can reduce the response time of an ambulance or the police as well as that of the traffic managers themselves.”

Visit the TMaaS dashboard for Southwark


Real-time traffic management can reduce the response time of an ambulance or the police as well as that of the traffic managers themselves

Pip Howson, Southwark Transportation Policy Team Leader

How do you view the input of TMaaS in concrete terms?

Pip Howson: “Any way you look at it, TMaaS offers us an interesting frame of reference. But it has the possibility of being more than that. One example that comes to mind is the flexible idea of ​​the modules, which we could put to effective use. Unfortunately, Covid got in the way and things aren’t going as smoothly as I’d like, but I believe there are good prospects. The question about what we will actually use from the TMaaS system is currently unanswered. What is certain is that it teaches us a lot about how we can improve our own working mechanisms. In that respect it represents much more than just an example. It provides practical information about sharing information and how this is done in other cities. It can reveal to us which aspects work well elsewhere. Even if we don’t take over any modules, we will still have learned a lot from this collaboration. TMaaS could thus prove to be crucially pivotal for traffic management in Southwark. Due to the corona crisis, we want to review our Flux Project anyway. Covid requires a reorientation of the project and TMaaS can play a major role in this.”

Urban Innovative Actions

This project is co-financed by the European Regional and Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.

Urban Innovative Actions is an Initiative of the European Union that provides urban areas throughout Europe with resources to test new and unproven solutions to address urban challenges.

Based on article 8 of ERDF, the Initiative has a total ERDF budget of EUR 372 million for 2014-2020.