Bristol City Council is one of 12 partners taking part in an 18-month research and development project testing the capabilities of 5G for the logistics sector. Leading one of the three project use cases, 5G-enabled smart junctions, the council is aiming to improve traffic management on an HGV-heavy route in Avonmouth.
Led by the West of England Combined Authority, the 5G Logistics project is funded by DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sports) as part of its 5G Testbed and Trials programme. The project will develop 5G products and services enabling accurate real-time asset tracking of goods in a freeport and remote freezone scenario (digital geofencing), automation and security as well as addressing road congestion and reducing air pollution.
The project and its benefits
Using 5G to create dynamic and digitally geofenced zones and corridors through which goods can be tracked and monitored is central to the project’s principal use case: freeport with remote freezones.*
A secondary use case is 5G-enabled port police drones running automated boundary inspections, ad-hoc surveillance and trigger event response.
The smart junctions use case, delivered by Bristol City Council, aims to demonstrate the benefits of 5G for the efficiency of transit logistics on main roads by reducing congestion at junctions, and consequently reducing air pollution.
Existing smart junctions around Bristol Port have been shown to function less efficiently on account of the higher number of HGVs in the area. This is because long and heavy vehicles are slower to accelerate out of a junction, causing traffic light algorithms to assume there is no traffic and prematurely change green lights to red. 5G-enabled sensors will provide more accurate information on traffic flows, taking into account the particularities of HGVs, and will better inform traffic management algorithms.
Mobile edge computing (MEC) and cloud services will test new models for traffic management, moving away from self-contained systems.
The effect on air quality of the smart junctions use case will be derived from statistical modelling of traffic flows and average emissions data.
By trialling new 5G smart junction solutions, we are taking steps towards more efficient traffic management systems that could:
- Improve road network efficiency and reduce congestion
- Improve air quality for local business and residents
- Reduce costs for businesses (less time spent in traffic)
- New economic opportunities and jobs
- Increased local 5G and smart city expertise.
*Bristol Port is not a freeport. The project is working with the port to test solutions that would support a freeport scenario, where freeport zones could operate at a distance from the central port site. The wider applicability of these solutions to other ports and the wider logistics sector are being considered in the project.
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sports (DCMS) funding: £3,009,828
Total project value: £ 5,212,293
The project is running for 18 months, beginning in January 2021 and ending in March 2022.
The project is delivered by 12 partners:
Public bodies: West of England Combined Authority, Bristol City Council
Technology SMEs: ADVA, Cellnex, Airspan, AttoCore, Unmanned Life
Network hosts and logistics end users: Bristol Port Company, Maritime Transport, This is Gravity
Research bodies: University of Bristol, Cardiff University
Plan of the scheme
The 5G Logistics testbed will operate across the West of England, with a primary test zone at Bristol Port and a secondary test zone covering its surrounding junctions. A third test zone will operate at the Gravity Smart Campus (acting as a freezone).