Page last updated at 11:41 GMT, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Roadside sensors monitor traffic

Scientists on Tyneside have unveiled a scheme aimed at reducing traffic congestion and pollution.

Researchers at Newcastle University have set set up a network of sensors around major routes in Gateshead.

These monitor the build-up of pollution, temperature, noise levels and vehicle counts.

The information helps to build a quick picture of which areas suffer from congestion and subsequent pollution at a specific point.

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This would allow traffic controllers to disperse traffic jams and give drivers up-to-date information to change their travel plans.

The network has been developed by the Mobile Environmental Sensing Systems Across Grid Environments (MESSAGE) initiative.

There are hopes it could help sufferers of asthma, bronchitis and heart disease as problem spots can be identified and avoided.

Prof Phil Blythe from Newcastle University said: "The sensors we've deployed in Gateshead are small and low cost.

"Other cities in the UK and around the world, such as New York and New Delhi are interested in replicating what we're doing here."

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