16 May 2022 | Innovation

SRL’s UTMC solution helps City of Edinburgh Council reduce impact of major roadworks in city centre

A landmark project to build a new tramline to link Edinburgh airport with the city began back in 2008. Phase one of the project to construct an 8.7-mile line between the airport and York Place was completed in 2014 at a cost of £776 million. With a journey time of around 40 minutes from the city centre to the airport, the line provides 16 stops for travellers.

The second phase of the scheme to connect York Place with the ports of Leith and Newhaven commenced in November 2019. The new 2.91-mile track will provide eight stops and is scheduled to be completed around Spring 2023 at a cost of £207 million.

With extensive and lengthy roadworks due to take place in the busy city centre during construction of the new tramline, it was essential to minimise congestion and reduce the likelihood of collisions and accidents on the roads.

The City of Edinburgh Council appointed Class One Traffic Management to integrate an effective temporary traffic solution that would reduce disruption, improve safety and give city centre drivers a better journey experience.

The challenge for Class One was how to incorporate a large and complex temporary traffic signal scheme into the council’s permanent UTMC (Urban Traffic Management and Control) controlled network to minimise the traffic impact of the works. Having reviewed many options for the scheme, Class One specified SRL Traffic Systems’ UTMC, which has been designed specifically to allow local authorities to coordinate temporary and permanent traffic signals and cater for tidal flows during peak AM and PM periods.

Compatible with all UG405 in-stations, SRL’s UTMC solution is configured within the City of Edinburgh Council’s permanent UTMC system. It works by connecting the SRL UTMC controller with a Chameleon OTU (Outstation Transmission Unit) via 4G (although connectivity is also possible via 3G and ADSL fixed line) to replicate the method of control and monitoring of the council’s permanent signals.

Simon Phillips, contracts manager at Class One, says: “This high-profile project has been challenging, and it was essential for us to improve the capacity of the busy city centre junction and improve journey times for motorists. I’ve worked with SRL for 12 years now and they have always been very responsive to our needs, so we had no hesitation in using them on this project. SRL’s UTMC system was ideal for this scheme and it has synchronised perfectly with the council’s permanent UTMC to significantly minimise the impact of roadworks during a lengthy project.”

As well as providing UTMC technology, SRL has supplied Class One with more than 50 sets of temporary traffic lights, ranging from two, three and four-way systems, during the project. It also provides dedicated support to Class One 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Robert Mansell, Senior ITS Engineer, The City of Edinburgh Council said: “The ability to combine the flexibility of using temporary signals whilst also being able to control and co-ordinate timings with the Council’s existing permanent traffic signals, has been invaluable during construction works on the Trams to Newhaven project. Having now experienced the advantages of using the UTMC temporary signals, we will be looking to specify their use in future projects to help keep everyone moving around Edinburgh as the city builds for a brighter, greener future.”