Buses to Display Real-time Traffic Updates

In a world first, we are excited to announce that we will display live traffic information on the back of London buses. This technology trial uses digital information boards to let motorists know about real-time traffic conditions, and will help to improve journey reliability on London’s roads.

Digital bus displays will give road users a new source of information to help improve their journeys

The buses have been fitted with electronic boards by Equitech IT Solutions, which use GPS technology to give accurate and up-to-date traffic information. The information is taken from our Variable Message Sign network, which is fed by our 24-hour traffic control centre.

And as part of our commitment to making real-time travel information openly available, the data from the TfL Variable Message Sign network is available free of charge at api.tfl.gov.uk.

We are trialling the bus boards on route 344 buses between Clapham Junction and Liverpool Street. They will give London’s road users a new source of information to help avoid congestion and improve their journeys, and should also have a positive effect on the reliability and efficiency of the roads.

If successful, this could be expanded across London.

Garrett Emmerson, our Chief Operating Officer for Surface Transport, said: “This innovative use of one of the Capital’s most iconic features – the London bus – will help all road users. We’re focused on keeping London moving and on giving drivers real-time information through a range of channels to help them avoid congested roads and reduce wasted time and needless pollution from idling cars.”

We’ll be using this ground-breaking approach on a further bus route – route 415 between Tulse Hill and Old Kent Road – in the autumn. This follows the successful trial of live traffic information displayed on taxi advertising boards by Brightmove Media Limited, which proved the concept of real-time traffic information delivered in this form.

We are constantly monitoring and analysing the road network to find ways to improve its reliability. This latest initiative supports other measures, such as the use of intelligent traffic signals – Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique – which reduce delays by up to 12 per cent.

If you have any questions on how the technology works, or how the trial is going, please do leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to answer. 

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