Urban Traffic Control (TMS)

TMS manages networks for less congestion and greener journeys

Have you experienced the satisfaction of catching a ‘green wave’ through a city? Or the frustration of waiting what seems like forever for a red light to change? Have you ever wondered what the pattern behind all these traffic light changes is, or how they are controlled?


The answer is a type of server known across the industry as an Urban Traffic Management and Control system (UTMC). UTMCs control all the traffic lights in a city or town, contributing to efficient traffic flow no matter what the circumstances. Our Traffic Management System (TMS) is a point in case. This powerful collection of tools supports a mixed approach to signal control by means of an adaptive traffic control algorithm, SCOOT. We co-own this algorithm with Siemens and TRL, and many cities across the UK have already implemented our TMS product, offering road users the benefits of efficient network performance, reduced congestion and improved air quality.

A blend of Fixed Time and Adaptive Traffic Control

What makes our Traffic Management System (TMS) unique is that it supports Urban Traffic Management and Control (UTMC) systems with two types of operating modes: Fixed Time and Adaptive Traffic Control. For many years, the traditional operating mode for traffic controllers has involved setting a fixed green light time for each junction. This ‘fixed time’ can be set for different routes or times of day, but it doesn’t adapt to changing conditions, for example, if an accident occurs or if traffic emissions temporarily go up.

Reducing delays and emissions

This is where SCOOT comes in. This unique algorithm uses detectors to analyse traffic data and to adapt traffic light times in real time. SCOOT responds to normal, everyday occurrences, such as rush hour, as well as to sudden, unpredicted changes, such as an accident or an unexpected traffic peak. The integration of SCOOT in our TMS enables our system to minimise the impact of incidents and events on highway infrastructure, and typically reduces delays in urban areas by an average of 20%.

We work alongside the growing numbers of cities seeking to promote environment-friendly mobility solutions, such as public transport: our traffic management solutions play a vital part in ensuring greener journeys. For instance, the SCOOT algorithm in our TMS can identify and prioritise public transport vehicles as they pass traffic signals in a city’s bus corridors, optimising bus timetables, reducing emissions and making the bus a more attractive option for travellers.

Another environmental benefit TMS offers is that SCOOT can monitor emissions in congested areas and modify the level of traffic accordingly. It models the pollution caused by urban traffic, feeding the simulation data back into our traffic optimisation algorithm, so that signalisation can be adapted accordingly.

A system that looks after itself

TMS doesn’t just contribute to better air quality and more efficient traffic flow; it also looks after its own wellbeing, so to speak. The system monitors the condition of lights, controllers and other components, checking for equipment faults and automatically reporting them. This means our maintenance and repair teams are alerted to issues before, or regardless of, delays and complaints. With TMS, a loose bolt no longer brings traffic to a grinding halt but can often be dealt with before it causes problems. Equipment availability, connections and journey times all benefit.

Best in cities of over 35,000 people

TMS is at its very best when managing dense traffic networks. Towns and cities with populations over 35,000 offer the ideal size for getting the most out of this system. With TMS, traffic authorities in such areas can easily coordinate, control and monitor their region’s signalised traffic intersections through a web-based User Interface (UI) that enables remote access – and all the user needs is standard web browser software. Across the UK, 28 cities have already deployed our Traffic Management System, including Glasgow, Leeds, Sheffield and Edinburgh.

Key features of TMS

  • Supports a mixed approach to signal control: Fixed Time (with or without System Activated Plan Selection (SAPS)) and SCOOT
  • Typically reduces urban traffic delays by an average of 20%
  • Can be set to give priority to public transport
  • The UI allows users to see what they need to see according to access level
  • Can be hosted either by the client/system operator, or remotely by a third party
  • Handles complicated conditions by analysing combinations of flow, occupancy and queue to determine the plans to apply.
  • Equipment status monitoring ‘at a glance’