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Contractor could use software to avoid left-turns in London

Canary Wharf Contractors is to use technology to help construction vehicle drivers to take certain routes - with the possibility of cutting out left turns coming into London - which it said would reduce pollution and congestion, and protect cyclists.

The company said it had reached an agreement with freight routing company PIE Mapping, one of the participants in Canary Wharf Group’s recent smart cities Cognicity Challenge event, to develop heavy goods vehicle routing technology for the construction of the mixed-use Southbank Place development.

The announcement by the company comes days after London mayor Boris Johnson unveiled radical plans to force HGVs delivering materials to large building sites to follow specific routes and to avoid specific left turns in order to reduce the number of collisions with cyclists.

Canary Wharf Contractors (CWC) said that the PIE Mapping software already handled all re-routes for HGVs based on planned roads, tunnel and bridge closures, major roadworks and live incidents and that testing and careful modelling of all left turns coming into London was currently underway.

It said that the platform would impose time-based restrictions on busy routes for HGVs, which will initially be in place for the morning rush hour peak on Monday to Friday. The software will guide and navigate HGV drivers differently based on the time of day.

CWC managing director Cormac MacCrann said: “It’s critical that the construction industry rises to the dual challenges of reducing pollution and congestion, as well as protecting a wide range of road users, particularly cyclists.

“We are sure that our collaboration with PIE Mapping will help to improve safety for London cyclists and we would be delighted if other major contractors adopted this HGV routing system.”

The platform is being developed at the moment and Canary Wharf Contractors said it would roll it out as the Southbank Place development got underway.

The Greater London Authority (GLA) said: “For future major construction projects, GLA planning powers will be used to strictly prescribe the routes which HGVs serving them can follow – requiring, for instance, that they avoid a road heavily used by cyclists or take a route that minimises the number of left turns, the most dangerous manoeuvre.

“Discussions with the London boroughs and the construction industry have already started to ensure that this happens as fast as possible.”   

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