Hull City Council is to work with artificial intelligence experts from the University of Huddersfield to help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in the city.

The council has awarded a contract to SimplifAI Systems Limited, based in the University’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre, to develop traffic management systems aimed at improving traffic flow in and around Hull.

Simplifai Systems works with Mauro Vallati, Professor of AI at the University of Huddersfield, and his research team on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in transport systems.  Together they make up the Huddersfield AI Transport Research Centre.

Simplifai Systems was created through a collaboration between KAM Futures, a company also based at the 3M BIC, and the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Planning, Autonomy and Representation of Knowledge.

The collaboration has already transformed and improved traffic on roads through a new form of Smart City Traffic Management using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Keith McCabe, CEO of SimplifAI Systems, said: “We are excited about working with Hull City Council to help deliver part of the Smart City technology.

“This builds on our work in the North of England using AI to tap into the data collected by existing systems and turn it into knowledge that can be used by the council to improve the reliability of the transport networks and assist in achieving net zero outcomes.”

In Hull, the AI technology will access the council’s existing information on congestion, traffic lights, bus movements, incidents and air quality to source new insights into traffic movements on the road network and generate new real-time strategies to solve complex traffic control issues.

The project’s aims are to address traffic problems such as alleviating some known congestion hot spots, improve the reliability of bus movements on targeted routes or through specific locations, improve management of traffic to and from non-routine occasions such as sporting events, concerts, roadworks, or traffic incidents and manage traffic to reduce air pollution where poor air quality is detected.

The SimplifAI solution will adjust traffic light timings to achieve a particular goal, solving one or more of the traffic problems being addressed, thereby improving traffic flow and road occupancy.

It will be trialled in Hull for two years as part of an ongoing government-funded traffic signals project.

Councillor Mark Ieronimo, Portfolio Holder for Roads, Highways and Transportation, said: “This exciting project is an example of how new AI technology can make better use of our existing traffic signal assets and improve how we manage traffic to make the road network safer, greener and more efficient.” For more information, visit SimplifAI Systems.