New G-STEP map application points to reduction in truck congestion

Posted by er134 at Jul 05, 2013 11:48 AM |
University of Leicester, Leicester city council and ERDF-funded map application uses earth observation data to improve truck routes through Leicester City

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 5 July 2013

The sight and sound of trucks rumbling through jammed streets may become a thing of the past, thanks to a new application developed by the University of Leicester’s G-STEP project.

The Leicester City HGV (heavy goods vehicle) maps is a hands-free based application that offers a flexible, adaptable solution to the problem of unsuitable HGV routes in Leicester utilising the capabilities of the existing mobile phone freeware Google Earthtm.

The application uses several map layers, allowing drivers to select the map with the appropriate height, width and weight specifications. The subsequent routes avoid residential areas, schools and roads hampered by access problems such as pinch points and weak bridges, giving indications as to why supposedly safe alternative routes should be avoided.

By applying GIS technologies, the maps deliver up-to-date, reliable data of approved routes for HGV movement in and around the City of Leicester.

Initially developed to be more accurate than the previous static HGV maps in Leicester City Council’s possession, it was later improved to utilize the existing capabilities of the free app, Google Earthtm.

A tailored solution to the problem of congestion certainly comes at an opportune time: “There are around 400,000 HGVs and 3 million vans registered in the UK, and 2010 alone saw 139 billion tonnes of freight moved per kilometre”, says Philip Smith, developer of the map layers for the application.

“Regulating HGV routes with this application also will reduce air pollution, which is sky-high in Leicester with annual levels of nitrogen oxide exceeding EU-regulated levels in five out of nine monitoring sites across Leicester city.

“Finally, the application will cut down congestion, which presently costs East Midlands businesses somewhere in the region of £795 million a year. Eliminating these problems will also solve societal problems along with the congested  routes, so the application will have a profound impact.”

G-STEP, a University of Leicester Project part funded by the ERDF, used their research expertise in GIS (Geographical Information System) and GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) to develop the application, with the former offering extensive geographical data and the latter providing an accurate and up-to-date picture of the “health” of the Earth.

Gary Scott of Leicester City Council said: ”The G-STEP project can help businesses save time and money, reducing congestion whilst improving air quality. A win-win situation.”

The initiative has generated interest with other city councils and the developers intend to build similar map layers for them, with the possibility of taking it further,  providing a unified solution to HGV congestion across UK cities in the future.



For more information please contact Philip Smith on:

For more information on G-STEP, go to or

For more information on GMES or GIS, go to or to

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