Monitoring the impact of Mill Road bridge closure

Our previous data story looked at the current local need to build a robust cycle (and transport) monitoring network in and around Cambridge. It also showed how this monitoring is currently being fulfilled through a network of Automatic Traffic Counters (ATC) that are driven by a legacy system with dated technology.

The dated technology (introduced from 2001 onwards) has led to a lack of robustness with the transport monitoring and frequent 'break downs' of the monitoring devices are being experienced. The previous datastory also highlighted how Cambridgeshire County Council are working to overcome this problem in the local data offer by taking learning from a Smart Cambridge trial of a new generation of remote sensors.

As part of this trial 15 smart sensors have been installed on Mill Road and surrounding streets to record numbers of pedestrians, bicycles, cars and other vehicles. The data being collated and analysed by the Smart Cambridge programme will help the Greater Cambridge Partnership and the County Council understand how people use the road network.

Mill Road Bridge has been closed since 1 July 2019 and  will remain so over an 8 week period for crucial work being carried out to improve rail infrastructure. Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to cross the railway for most of the working time but the closure has provided an opportunity to trial new monitoring technology in measuring the impact of this closure. The sensors will be in place for at least 18 months to gather data before the closure, during the time when there is no vehicle traffic coming over Mill Road Bridge and then after the bridge is re-opened; allowing engineers to see the impact of the closure on surrounding roads, including on air quality. Keeping the sensors in place for this long will allow the team to make greater comparisons, by taking in to account daily, weekly, monthly and annual variations in traffic levels.

The point location of these 15 sensors has been included as part of the initial Open Data release for the trial. These locations can be seen in the preview map below.

These sensors have now been recording data since the beginning of June and Smart Cambridge are now in a position to facilitate an open release of this data via Cambridgeshire Insight.

The release offers counts for each sensor over 1 hour periods. The data covers the period 03/03/2019 to 07/07/2019 but bi-weekly updates will be appended to the existing data release over the period of the closure and monthly thereafter. Hourly counts are broken down by inbound and outbound journeys.

Counts are also broken down by journey type. This includes:

  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Buses
  • LGV
  • OGV 1
  • OGV 2

You can access data for all sensors here.