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UK scaleups collaborate with DCMS on smart junctions 5G Project to reduce congestion and emissions in Manchester.

Author Steven Johnson, How We Got to Now, Innovative Initiatives workshop, Innovative Technology Partnerships Office (IPTO)
<a href="" rel="nofollow">Author Steven Johnson, How We Got to Now, Innovative Initiatives workshop, Innovative Technology Partnerships Office (IPTO)</a> by <a href="" rel="nofollow">NASA Goddard Photo and Video</a> is licensed under <a href="" rel="nofollow">CC-BY 2.0</a>

VivaCity, a transportation technology scaleup, and Weaver Labs, a Web3 startup that democratizes telecoms access, announced the results of their smart junctions 5G project, in collaboration with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS).

VivaCity, which helps cities become smarter, safer, and more sustainable by providing authorities with the right transportation data at the right time, employs AI sensors and smart junctions to gather detailed insights on transportation modes, traffic flow, and travel patterns. VivaCity is reducing infrastructure costs by connecting sensors at each junction in this way. The system, crucially, requires low-latency communications to achieve its goal, making Weaver Labs’ Cell-Stack solution the ideal technology to deliver this savings.

The project, which took place in Salford, from September 2020 to July 2022, Greater Manchester, made use of innovative Open RAN 5G technology and was sponsored by the DCMS 5G Testbed and Trials Programme.

The DCMS also announced more than £35 million in R&D funding and innovation projects to help accelerate the development of Open RAN, with Minister Matt Warman visiting Salford to see firsthand how the innovative technology is being used in the smart junction’s project.

The promoting event also featured a number of high-profile speakers discussing the impact and outcomes of the smart junctions 5G project, including Peter Boulton, TfGM’s Head of Highways, who spoke about the importance of 5G networks for transportation. Alex Cleaves, Portfolio Manager at DCMS, and Ed King, 5G Create Technical Lead at DCMS, also discussed the program’s main takeaways.

Similarly, Andy Sutton, BT’s Principal Network Architect, David Pedley, DCMS’s 5G TT Security Lead, and Michael Goulding, Cellnex’s Head of Commercial took part in a panel discussion on the future of networks.

“We’re on a mission to make cities smarter, safer, and more sustainable for all,” said Mark Nicholson, CEO and Co-Founder of VivaCity. “Our smart junctions 5G project is going a long way in shaping the future of transport networks.” We are pleased that the Salford trial has already resulted in shorter wait times. The subsequent impact not only improves the daily lives of residents and visitors, but it also reduces congestion and emissions in the surrounding area. The anonymous data insights gathered throughout the project will also help local governments improve their understanding of how the scheme worked, empowering them to make decisions on future schemes in the surrounding area.”

Maria Lema, Co-Founder at Weaver Labs, added: “The deployment of our 5G smart junctions project is going a long way in supporting the development of smart city applications within the Greater Manchester area. With our edge-based 5G small cell network, we are proud to present our technology in collaboration with VivaCity, TfGM, and DCMS, and to promote diversity and openness in the telecoms supply chain.”

Moving forward, the project partners hope to continue cooperating to improve the stability of the OpenRAN network, expand the number of use cases that can be supported by the network, and demonstrate the economic benefits of investing in 5G infrastructure.

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