TRL Ltd, in collaboration with UK traffic systems suppliers, developed the SCOOT urban traffic control system. SCOOT is co-owned by Imtech, Siemens Traffic Controls Ltd and TRL Ltd.
Alongside the three owners, Transport for London are members of the SCOOT Steering Group, providing end user experience input into product developments.
SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique) is adaptive and responds automatically to traffic fluctuations. It does away with the need for signal plans that are expensive to prepare and keep up to date. SCOOT has proved to be an effective and efficient tool for managing traffic on signalised road networks and is now used in over 250 towns and cities in the UK and overseas. SCOOT uses data from vehicle detectors and optimises traffic signal settings to reduce vehicle delays and stops. There are a number of basic philosophies which led to the development of SCOOT. One of these was to provide a fast response to changes in traffic conditions to enable SCOOT to respond to variations in traffic demand on a cycle-by-cycle basis. SCOOT responds rapidly to changes in traffic, but not so rapidly that it is unstable; it avoids large fluctuations in control behaviour as a result of temporary changes in traffic patterns.
SCOOT was designed for dense urban road networks such as those in London and other large towns and cities. However, the system is also suitable for small networks. It is particularly effective where traffic flows are unpredictable – for example, random changes in traffic patterns such as those that often occur in popular tourist areas. SCOOT is designed to adapt to variations in traffic flow automatically and so does not need the full time attention of an operator.
When junctions are some distance apart (more than about 1 km), isolated junction control using a system such as MOVA may be more appropriate. Other site-specific factors can also influence the decision on method of control.
More information on SCOOT and its suppliers can be found via the dedicated website at www.scoot-utc.com.