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Cambridge motorists to be monitored by smart sensors on selected roads

Smart sensors that monitor how thousands of motorists drive on selected roads in Cambridge are to be installed this week.

Fifteen sensors will be installed on Mill Road and surrounding streets to record the number of pedestrians, bicycles, cars and other vehicles.

The data, to be analysed by the Smart Cambridge programme, will help the Greater Cambridge Partnership understand how people use the road network in the city.

Mill Road bridge will be closed to vehicles for eight weeks from July 1 for work to improve the city’s rail services. A temporary footbridge will be installed so pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to cross the railway for most of the working time.

The sensors will be in place for at least 18 months to gather data before the closure, during the time when there is no vehicle traffic coming over the bridge and then after it is reopened. This will allow engineers to see the impact of the closure on the surrounding roads and the air quality. The lengthy period when the sensors are in situ will provide the team with the opportunity to make greater comparisons, by taking into account daily, weekly, monthly and annual variations in traffic levels.

Claire Ruskin, executive board member for the Greater Cambridge Partnership and CEO of Cambridge Network, said: “Unfortunately we can’t get round the short-term closure to the bridge but we can make some use of the inevitable disruption.

“We need robust data on how people use our roads and this is a real opportunity to gain an understanding of how thousands of people move in, through and around this area.

“Taking this opportunity while part of Mill Road is closed to vehicles means we can better understand the impact road closures and road works have on traffic levels and routes, including how people choose alternatives, before the road reopens as normal.

“Understanding this will inform future decisions about managing increased congestion and providing solutions for getting people around our city.”

Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to cross Mill Road using the temporary footbridge, other than for a period of around five days when the route will need to be closed for safety reasons.

There may also be other ad hoc closures for short periods.

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