What’s on : Cafe-scientifique

Traffic – can we beat the queues?

2 Mar 2022
Start time
7:30 PM
Professor Tony May, Emeritus Professor of Transport Engineering,University of Leeds
Traffic - can we beat the queues?

Event Information

Traffic – can we beat the queues?
Professor Tony May, Emeritus Professor of Transport Engineering, University of Leeds

Last year’s Council survey found that 90% of residents think congestion in York a serious problem. But what can we do about it? As ever in matters related to transport, the answers lie partly in science and engineering, and partly in human behaviour.

I will look at how congestion arises in cities like York, what the predictions are, and why people keep driving in congested conditions. I will argue that congestion is to some extent self-regulating, but represents an inefficient use of the transport system.

I will consider a few of the possible traffic management solutions and show that the way in which the road network as a whole operates is critical. Finally I will discuss the potential of automated vehicles to reduce congestion, and demonstrate that they are likely to have much more wide-ranging consequences.


Tony May has over 50 years’ experience in traffic engineering and transport planning. He worked with the Greater London Council for ten years prior to being appointed Professor of Transport Engineering at the University of Leeds in 1977. While at Leeds he also spent time in consultancy advising on transport strategy for several UK cities. His principal research interests are in urban transport policy, on which he has acted as adviser to the UK government, the World Bank, the International Transport Forum, the European Commission and several national governments. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1995, and appointed OBE for services to transport engineering in 2004. He is currently a Trustee of York Civic Trust, and chairs the Trust’s Environment Committee and Transport Advisory Group.”

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