Avoiding the Olympic gridlock

TfL / Trapeze ITS
Trapeze – custom development of module
Traffic control
Industry / Vertical:

Transport for London (TfL) maintains 580km of main roads and all of London's traffic lights. London Buses, part of TfL, is also responsible for managing one of the largest bus networks in the world, with a fleet of more than 8,500 buses. Each year these buses travel 483 million km in service, via 19,500 bus stops, and their users make more than 2.2 billion passenger trips.


In 2012 London hosts the Olympic Games, and each of the 8.8 million tickets issued will be accompanied by a one-day Games Travelcard to encourage users to make use of TfL services to and from competitions in and around London. With road closures and bus diversions expected across central and southwest London, critical gridlock points have been identified at Victoria station, Kings Cross, the West End, Westminster, Bank, South Bank, Canary Wharf, Stratford, Canning Town and Liverpool Street. Pressure on the transport system in these areas is classified as ''particularly acute'' because large numbers of people will be travelling to the same place at the same time.

The games are expected to attract 5.3 million people, not just spectators, but athletes, officials and 'atmosphere tourists’, people who don't have Games tickets, but will travel to the capital - all competing with London’s existing commuter population who will need to go about their everyday business.


Key to avoiding the travel chaos which consumed the Atlanta Olympics is better traffic management. By prioritising traffic signals in favour of the bus fleet, TfL is already able to alleviate congestion in London and reduce late arrivals, a system which will have particular value during the Olympics.

Wood & Douglas worked with Trapeze ITS, a global leader in the supply of comprehensive, reliable solutions for vehicle location and control technology in the field of public urban passenger transport, on what has been one of the world’s largest real-time bus management systems. Trapeze ITS needed a radio solution for the Traffic Light Pre-emption (TLP) system, in order to pass information from moving buses to traffic lights, enabling the buses to gain priority over other road users.

The project itself incorporated radio design, PC board design and manufacture of the enclosures to ensure an integrated solution. 17,000 custom-developed units were manufactured by Wood & Douglas. These radio-modem units, which comply with the RTIG standard, are fitted to buses and traffic lights. This enables the sequence of the traffic lights to change as a bus approaches. In this way TfL is able to ensure its bus fleet is given priority over other traffic, and provided with clear passage through London’s congested routes.

This wireless data communications application already plays its part in ensuring those travelling by London public transport have a quicker and more comfortable journey. It has helped support the pre-planning for the influx of extra passengers in Summer 2012, and enables improved traffic management and therefore reduced congestion across one of the world’s busiest public transport networks.

  • World’s largest real-time bus management system
  • Custom-designed and manufactured
  • VHF radio module Standards compliant




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