THE city council is about to switch on groundbreaking technology on York roads in a research project which uses mobile phone data to help tackle congestion.

Road-side sensors are going in on the A59 corridor - starting at Lendal Arch - and last week the Department for Transport handed over the first tranch of a £2.85 million grant to roll it out more widely.

The A59 research project - called Eboracum - sees data from mobile phones and smart cars, among other things, used to track congestion and model traffic flow, to help the city council deal with congestion. It has been funded by a £450,000 government grant and the other £2.85 million grant - first announced last October - will let the council work out how that kind of data can be used to model traffic flows and tackle congestion. Last week, the DfT released the first £682,000 of that money.

Cllr Peter Dew, the city’s executive member for transport, said that as city does not have room for more roads, technology is being used to get the road network “fit for the whole of the 21st century.”

He added: “What happens on York’s roads over the next couple of years will help to define how traffic is managed in the UK. This is a genuinely pioneering approach to making our roads safer and air cleaner, made possible by York’s digital infrastructure.”