About the Project: The 5G Smart Junctions project is funded by Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to help drive the 5G eco-system. This project also increases our knowledge of OpenRAN which will help to diversify the future supply chain while driving innovation.
The Challenge: Already deployed in Manchester, Smart Junctions use artificial intelligence to improve traffic signal control efficiency by reducing waiting times at signals, which in turn reduces journey times and cuts pollution. This system requires reliable, low-latency communications which is typically achieved through fibre-optics connections to every signal. This can be prohibitively expensive to deploy at scale.
Using 5G communications for inter-signal communications means fewer fibre-optics connections are required, making the system more cost effective.
The installation of a small-cell 5G network also offers additional benefits such as enabling vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, supporting other connected infrastructure and mobility-based public services, and reducing the need for mounting additional hardware on buildings.
The project will also explore a new business case to promote capital investment into small-cell networks by incentivising the public sector to contribute with connectivity assets, which could be rented for use by Mobile Network Operators, as well as contributing to network densification to maximise the social value potential of digital infrastructure.
The result: This revolution in traffic signal control helps authorities efficiently and effectively enact new city wide policies and enable better optimisation at local, regional and city-wide levels. This ground-breaking solution is already delivering real-world benefits – in Manchester Smart Junctions achieved a 23% reduction in journey time across a single junction.