Traffic lights will alter to give priority to buses when they're running late

A general view of a bus lane in central London as transport bosses have welcomed a court ruling on their policy of banning private hire vehicles from bus lanes.

Traffic lights are set to prioritise buses in national plans to help keep public transport running on time.

In a bid to encourage more people to use public transport, bus firm FirstGroup is using GPS technology that can tell if a bus is late and can prioritise green lights for bus lanes to help them keep to schedule.

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Information is shared via the cloud about traffic and speed which can then be read by lights to prioritise accordingly.

The technology has already been used in Swansea for several years but is set to be rolled out nationally. It will only be used if local authorities give the go-ahead to the tech being used in their area, though, and if junctions have the capabilities to be able to monitor traffic levels around them.

The system has been created by the Transport Research Laboratory and has been named 'Scoot'. Similar technology has been used since the 1980s that can tell when a bus is approaching, but this is the first time the sensors have been able to tell if a bus is running late or not.

Transport Research Laboratories' managing director Justin Davies told the BBC: "We have the ability to know exactly where our vehicles are minute by minute as the day progresses.

"If a bus is running a little bit late, the traffic lights will change to favour the bus to enable its journey to be slightly speeded up and catch up the time.

"But where the bus is normally running, the traffic light sequence will be absolutely as it is."

London, Newcastle and Cambridge are all thought to be considering using the traffic light system.

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