A14: Stretch between Felixstowe and Cambridge to become UK’s first ‘smart road’

Congestion on the A14.

Congestion on the A14. - Credit: Archant

The UK’s first “smart road” is coming to Suffolk as technologists plug the A14 into the internet.

Sensors are to be installed along a 70-mile stretch of the busy dual carriageway between Felixstowe and Cambridge which will monitor traffic congestion and even communicate directly with cars.

The sensors will utilize new “white space” technology, which transfers information using gaps in radio spectrum which exist between frequency bands.

It has been mooted that the technology could even lower the speed of drivers on the road and direct where they travel.

The pilot scheme will be delivered by BT and Cambridge-based start up Neul.

It was announced by Ofcom, who said: “The technology is designed to improve information to drivers and could reduce congestion and even improve road safety.”

An Ofcom spokesman added: “Sensors in cars and on the roads monitor the build-up of congestions and wirelessly send this information to a central traffic control system, which automatically imposes variable speed limits that smooth the flow of traffic.

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“This system could also communicate directly with cars, directing them along diverted routes to avoid the congestion and even managing their speed.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The Government is committed to releasing the power of information and data to improve services, enhance the lives of citizens and to promote growth.

“The Department expects this pilot to provide exciting and compelling evidence that the combination of many different sources of data can produce real value for all road users, including motorists, logistics companies and those charged with responding to and dealing with incidents.”