Smart sensors, that were deployed in 2019 on selected roads in Cambridge, are continuing to help provide a detailed picture of how thousands of people use Mill Road and the surrounding streets.

The sensors, which have been in place since May 2019, record numbers of pedestrians, bicycles, cars and other vehicles.

The project was initially set up to take advantage of Mill Road Bridge being closed to vehicles for eight weeks from 1 July 2019 while crucial work was carried out by Govia Thameslink to improve rail services.

What we did

The Smart team installed 15 traffic sensors, and the City Council put seven air quality sensors, on and around Mill Road to capture data that can monitor any changes to road usage and air quality, and the impact on surrounding roads as a consequence of the closure.

The sensors were initially put in place for 18 months to gather data for the same time frame in 2020, so officers could make direct comparisons to when the bridge was closed to when it is open. Information is still being collected via the sensors as part of a wider city-monitoring network.

This allowed us to do the following

  • Trial new technology and data solutions, so a generic process can be rolled out for other schemes building bigger pictures of the city
  • Make city data available to the public via Cambridgeshire Insight and iCP
  • Gather a full year of data on traffic volumes
  • Understand how closures affect behaviour and whether this is sustained or just for the period
  • Carry out analysis to investigate patterns between traffic volumes and other data such as
    • air quality
    • traffic accidents, road/civil works etc.
    • Weather conditions

Why collecting this data is important

  • Improves understanding of road usage
  • Offers a clearer picture of the impact of the closure on traffic volumes and air quality for Mill Road and the surrounding roads

Read a case study stemming from the Mill Road Sensor Project to find out how the data helped Cambridgeshire County Council’s Signals Team.

Cambridge City Council produced a report on the air quality monitoring and Connecting Cambridgeshire’s Smart team produced a report detailing the findings of the Mill Road Sensor Trial.

The data

The Mill Road closure traffic sensor data can be publicly viewed on the Cambridgeshire Insight open data portal.