Partnership with Siemens will see clever lights provide better traffic management.

London is set to introduce a high-tech, congestion-busting traffic light system after Transport for London (TfL) announced a 10-year partnership with tech firm Siemens.

The German firm will use a cutting-edge computer system to control the lights, allowing TfL to react to accidents and disruption more effectively.

At present, many of the capital’s lights are controlled by the ‘SCOOT’ system, which uses sensors to detect traffic and adjusts lights to favour buses that are running late. According to TfL, this system is already keeping delays 13 percent lower than they would otherwise be, but the organisation admits that the system is ‘struggling to optimise effectively’ for all road users.

The new real-time technology, dubbed RTO, will be able to connect with more sensors and tap into data from connected cars, further assisting the control system in its quest to optimise light timings and reduce tailbacks.

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The new system will also be continuously developed, with improvements and updates occurring throughout the 10-year contract. The technology will also be marketed to other organisations, and TfL will use the revenue it generates from future sales to invest in London’s road network.

Glynn Barton, TfL's director of network management, said the new system was a ‘game changer’ that would reduce congestion and pollution.

‘This world-leading new traffic management system will use new data sources to better manage our road network, tackle congestion, reduce delays for people choosing healthier travel options and improve air quality,’ he said. ‘And by providing our control centre with a tool which supports more effective incident response, everyone will benefit.'

Wilke Reints, managing director of Siemens Intelligent Traffic Systems, said the ‘pioneering’ partnership was a ‘major development’ for the traffic industry.

‘We are absolutely delighted to have been selected to work with TfL on such an exciting programme,’ he said. 'We believe this is a unique opportunity to build a robust, reliable system that will meet the needs of one of the world's largest cities. London will be a showcase for intelligent traffic solutions for megacities worldwide.'