Cambridgeshire County Council

Smart Cambridge — Exploring how new and emerging technology and data can address the challenges faced by a growing city.

Learn how GeoSpock enabled Smart Cambridge to understand its traffic problems for future city planning.

Cambridgeshire County Council had a wealth of anonymous data from automatic number plate recognition cameras in 96 locations in and around Cambridge. It was keen to discover what it could learn from the data to help with planning and developing the city's transport network.

We all think we know what’s causing traffic problems – whether it’s a particularly slow set of traffic lights, a road that narrows to one lane, a frustrating one-way system or simply too many drivers all trying to get to a particular area at the same time. But you need to be sure of your facts before you start making changes that could affect tens of thousands of drivers every day.

By ingesting data into GeoSpock DB and querying it through our PowerBI integration analytics dashboard were able to quickly create  heat and data density maps to highlight the busiest entry points into Cambridge, the trips vehicles are making within the city each day and the peak traffic times. Data could even be broken down by vehicle type to reveal the patterns of delivery traffic. 

Find out more about how GeoSpock is helping to create the future of smart cities.

Not surprisingly, analytical queries of the data showed that the majority of delivery vehicles enter Cambridge via the M11 and A14 - major trunk roads in the vicinity of the city. But one of the busiest delivery routes in the city was revealed to be Gonville Place – an historic road running through the city centre not originally designed as a major traffic route. For city planners, this suggested a new focus area examining the feasibility of road widening schemes at key points along Gonville Place to assist with increased traffic flow. Additionally, the ability to break down traffic flow by space, time and type is supporting Smart Cambridge's efforts to build in time-bound restrictions for heavy goods delivery vehicles within the city centre, easing congestion at the most critical times of day for commuters and other traffic.

Data is central to the work cities are undertaking to address societal issues such as congestion, pollution and the delivery of services. Cambridge cannot do this alone and our work with GeoSpock has demonstrated the value of collaboration between the public and private sectors. Their experience of working with city data and cutting-edge platform is showing how we can extract value and insights from data, driving real change. — Daniel Clarke, Digital Programme Manager, Smart Cambridgeshire