Device halting traffic revolutionizes Glasgow school bike route

A remote-controlled device which can halt traffic has transformed a school bike route in Glasgow, as it allows children to cross the road safely.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, the wireless transmitter, developed for Glasgow City Council, can send signals to hold traffic at an extremely busy junction.

The technology is being used by a bike bus set up by parents at Shawlands Primary School which escorts children along a prescribed route to get to school.

Attached to the lead rider’s bike, the Ultra Smart Cycle System uses a military-grade encrypted signal that when pressed sets up a timed traffic light cycle in motion to hold traffic for 45 seconds.

The signal is only accepted by the control unit on a pre-programmed day, during an agreed period, which suits the once-a-week bike ride passing through the busy Shawlands Cross junction between 8:30am and 9am on Fridays.

man in red shirt riding on motorcycle on road during daytime

Cllr Angus Millar, the city’s climate convenor, said: ‘We are always looking for new and innovative ways to provide safe, active travel routes for everyone and I am delighted that council colleagues were able to offer a solution to this problem in a very short space of time, during the school break.

‘Making cycling a safe, easy and attractive option for people and especially young people is at the heart of our efforts to promote sustainable transport.

‘This bit of kit is a fairly simple solution to a road safety problem that is probably experienced in cities up and down the country and I hope that what we’ve developed for Glasgow can be replicated to help similar bike bus schemes.’

Previously, the group had experienced problems crossing the junction and the council’s Road Safety Unit provided them with Hi-Viz vests, helmet cameras and banners along the route to inform drivers.

But it was the council’s TRAFFCOM traffic management service which found the solution to the 60 riders, by detecting the bikes and holding traffic for a little longer.

Preston-based Sm@rt Technology developed a prototype and a 3D printed unit to form the wireless button.

Glasgow City Council has committed to reducing car vehicle kilometres by at least 30% by 2030 and is encouraging sustainable travel options, such as walking, wheeling or cycling or public transport.

The council’s Active Travel Strategy includes proposals to build a city-wide network of segregated cycling infrastructure and the Liveable Neighbourhoods which support shorter active travel journeys.

Photo by Mark Stosberg


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