Credit: Transport for Greater Manchester

TfGM partners with Vivacity Labs for cycling and walking development in Manchester

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is to advance its cycling and walking infrastructure programme through the rollout of new technology by Vivacity Labs.

The transport technology scaleup has been awarded a new contract by TfGM in its latest investment into the city’s cycling and walking infrastructure.

The partnership will see AI-powered sensors installed across the region to capture anonymous data in real-time on cycling and walking, helping to assess trends on key roads and junctions. This will give TfGM insight into how current active travel schemes, such as segregated cycling and walking routes and priority areas, are being used, while also supporting the planning and implementation of future schemes.

Around 100 sensors are set for installation across the region. The sensors will join the existing ‘Smart Junctions’ (also by Vivacity) currently also in operation, creating a network for ‘unparalleled’ travel data insight in the city. Further installations of the sensors are expected as the programme continues to be rolled out.

Vivacity’s sensors use artificial intelligence and machine learning to capture anonymous traffic counts in real-time across a selected ‘count line’. These counts can show the interactions between pedestrians, cyclists and cars, for example, and provide insights on factors such as number, pathways and speed. The data is completely anonymised and presents no privacy or personal data risk.

Mark Nicholson, co-founder and CEO of Vivacity Labs, said: “Greater Manchester is investing heavily into its cycling and walking network, and we’re delighted to be progressing our relationship with Transport for Greater Manchester to provide data insights into cycling and walking on a new scale.

“The datasets will enable TfGM to understand how active travel users are interacting with schemes and evaluate their effectiveness in facilitating walking and cycling. As we adapt to life without restrictions, offering smart, safe and sustainable ways to travel is becoming all the more important, and we look forward to continuing our partnership in achieving this.”

TfGM programme director for cycling and walking Richard Nickson said: “Giving as many people as possible access to convenient, safe and enjoyable forms of active travel will help us to build on the increases in walking and cycling we have seen during the pandemic.

“We’ve already made great progress this year in delivering the UK’s largest cycling and walking network and have many more schemes in the pipeline as we look to give people a genuine alternative to the car, reduce congestion and help improve air quality.

“By enhancing our monitoring capabilities, we can more effectively measure the success of this substantial investment and better understand the use of active travel modes across the region to inform our long-term strategy and delivery.”

The first sensors are expected to be installed and on the ground this autumn, with further installations to follow as monitoring capabilities are further enhanced and cycling and walking scheme evaluations progress.

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