Leicester: urban TRaffic management and Air Quality (uTRAQ)

Project owner

ESA (European Space Agency)


Start/end date



This project demonstrated operational tests of a fully developed uTRAQ system integrated with operational urban traffic management systems for new infrastructure investments. This was carried out in partnership with Leicester City Council, while system architecture and integration was performed by TRL with AQ modeling being led by the University of Leicester– Aimsun provided the traffic modeling and short-term prediction through Aimsun Live.

uTRAQ is part funded through ESA through ARTES IAP 20 (Advanced Research in Telecommunications, Integrated Applications Program 20).

urban TRaffic management and Air Quality (uTRAQ)


Prior to the Aimsun Live deployment, the Aimsun team had developed an offline, city-wide, integrated model of Leicester with macroscopic, mesoscopic and microscopic details, that had controllers and detectors coded in as per their urban traffic control (UTC) configuration. This included 120 SCOOT junctions, which in the Aimsun Live environment fed the model at intervals of 5 minutes with live data.

While previous instances of Aimsun Live have focused on optimization of typical congestion based metrics such as journey times and delays, uTRAQ used the Aimsun Live architecture for the first time to examine how live management of traffic management solutions can be used to minimize emissions, thereby maximizing improvements in air quality.

urban TRaffic management and Air Quality (uTRAQ)


UTRAQ has adopted a modular approach as illustrated below, which has integrated data sources both known (traffic data) and new (air quality, meteorological data) into a decision support system that has other modular components, the existing traffic management system and the real time short term prediction of Aimsun Live. Each module serves a specific purpose and has been used in the collection, filtering, processing and analysis of the various data feeds in a coordinated fashion.

In order to calculate the potential benefit of various traffic control strategies (in addition to the likely outcome of a ‘do-nothing’ scenario); the system uses a simple 3 step process:

-Simulation of these strategies using traffic and air quality modeling; 

-Identifying an optimal strategy, based on local policy, performance measures and user interaction;

-Passing the optimal strategy to the existing UTC system for real life implementation.

urban TRaffic management and Air Quality (uTRAQ)

The project ended towards the end of 2017, however Earthsense, a spinoff from the University of Leicester, continues to offer air quality modeling services, and Aimsun continues to deploy Aimsun Live in coordination with traffic management systems.