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W Yorks councils merge UTMC

Traffic Management

03 April 2020

The five West Yorkshire district councils are preparing to merge their urban traffic management and control (UTMC) services into a single entity managed by Leeds City Council.  

UTMC services are currently delivered independently by each of the authorities with the exception of Calderdale, which procures the service from Leeds. 

The four West Yorkshire UTMC teams (Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and Kirklees) work in different locations to varying service level agreements, with some  limited formal cross-boundary operations, such as shared maintenance, supply and installation contracts. 

The project has three parts: 

  • joining up all districts’ UTC/UTMC computer systems into one system located in the “cloud” (circa £2.3m)
  • improvements to UTC equipment at key junctions on the West Yorkshire Key Route Network (circa £4.0m); and 
  • consolidating the four West Yorkshire UTC under TUPE provisions (circa £1.0m) 

The service will take over responsibility for the design of new traffic signal installations and be responsible for procurement, installation, operation and maintenance. Each district will retain ownership of its traffic signal assets and be responsible for paying associated energy costs.  

The service will have 34 full-time equivalent staff. Bradford says this is enough to allow all staff in post across West Yorkshire to obtain an equivalent position in the joint service. 

“With the addition of the management fee by Leeds City Council the joint service model is significantly more expensive to operate than the council’s current arrangements,” Steve Hartley, Bradford’s strategic director of place told councillors. “[But] The joint services model provides many benefits in terms of more efficient and cohesive management of traffic. Staffing of UTMC engineers has always been difficult given the specialist skillset. The proposed staffing structure of the joint service provides a framework which has sufficient critical mass to allow training of graduates and apprentices to these roles in the future, thereby assuring the future viability of resources.”

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