UTRAQ - Urban Traffic Management and Air Quality

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uTRAQ is a solution designed to aid  towns, cities and major urban areas in addressing traffic related air quality and emissions issues through the use of traffic management strategies which consider how vehicle emissions will disperse / change based on prevailing weather conditions and traffic flows. 

uTRAQ uses microscopic traffic modelling across the road network in conjunction with an high resolution Air Quality model to compare different scenarios and provide traffic management guidance based on predicted changes to traffic flow and air quality. The system uses data feeds from local in-situ sensors, earth observation air quality measurements and satellite-derived vehicle location, speed and traffic density data.  

Objectives of the service

The purpose of the demonstration project was to increase the Technology Readiness Level through the development of a near market ready solution. 

During the demonstration project, operational tests of a fully developed uTRAQ system integrated with existing operational urban traffic management systems has been completed in conjunction with a local authority.

Users and their needs

The target market for uTRAQ are local authorities of medium to large towns, major urban centres and Cities, not only within the UK, Western Europe but also further afield in both the developed and developing world. 

Traffic densities are increasing, with improvements in emission rates failing to provide the necessary compensating impact on air quality. Therefore, systems are required to jointly manage traffic flows and air quality in urban environments, to optimise the efficient movement of people and goods, while protecting the health of residents and visitors to major cities.

Service/ system concept

The service concept of uTRAQ is to provide an extension of existing traffic management tools and data streams which are supplemented by EO data in a single user centric system to forecast and mitigate the effects of air quality and congestion on urban centres. 

Space Added Value

uTRAQ utilises two space assets, firstly GNSS data and position data, secondly EO air quality measurement which are used to provide a wide area data set on air quality across urban centres. 

Product Benefits

uTRAQ is an ESA supported project to develop a dynamic traffic management system for optimising the use of the road network whilst meeting the challenge of the increasing demand to sustain high standards of air quality in the urban environment. 

  • Rapid modelling and simulation of the traffic and air quality implications of network operation using real time data sources.
  • Increasing the quality and number of data sources which have not previously been readily available for network operators and air quality teams.
  • Deeper insight and understanding of the local road network and congestion related emissions problem areas.
  • Ability to test strategies in an ad hoc and faster manner before life deployment on a road network.
  • Extending the tools available to network operators in their day to day operations in addition to dealing with unplanned events and loss of network capacity.
  • A modern approach to interfacing with traffic control systems by a user first approach and human centric design

Product Features

The modular approach to uTRAQ demonstrates the integration of data sources both known (traffic data) and new (air quality, meteorological data) to a traffic management system. 

As a modular system, each module of uTRAQ is designed and implemented to serve a specific purpose in the collection, filtering, processing and analysis of the various data feeds, in the coordination of the following process: 

Calculation of potentially beneficial traffic control strategies (in addition to the likely outcome of the ‘do-nothing’ scenario); 

Simulation of these strategies using traffic and air quality modelling; 

Identification of an optimal strategy, based on local policy, performance measures and user interaction; and 

Passing the optimal strategy to the existing UTC system for implementation on street. 

On-going internal validation of the system outputs to ensure convergence between modelled and real world data to give a reliable and sound system.

Working in conjunction with TRL developed SCOOT, the real time adaptive control system, in the demonstration of the potential application of EO data and a joined up systems approach to realise the benefits of new data in a single user centric system.

Key Issues

Balancing the needs to address the increasingly urgency of urban air quality issues arising from Transportation and the increasing demands on road space.

Current Status

Successful completion

Prime Contractor(s)


Status Date

Updated: 05 July 2018 - Created: 08 October 2015