Welcome to the Greenwave project


The Greenwave project is a collaborative partnership involving Idox Transport, CheckedSafe, Amey and Birmingham City Council to test the viability of encouraging fleet drivers to ‘ride the green wave’ in order to support traffic and air quality management in urban areas.

The term ‘green wave’ refers to the instance where vehicles are able to travel continuously without having to stop at intersections. This is supported by a sequence of traffic lights, coordinated to permit continuous traffic flow in a single direction via a cascade of green lights. With the development of a new App, the Greenwave project aims to provide a mechanism that helps drivers to pre-empt the lights in order to reduce stop and start traffic and ‘ride the green wave’.


What is the project hoping to achieve?

How does it work?

Why is it important?



What is the project hoping to achieve?


Funded by Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency – the project aims to transform the way local authorities tackle poor air quality in urban areas. It strives to do this by offering an innovative App that tackles fuel consumption and emissions from a driver perspective, in contrast to more traditional approaches of managing traffic flow.


Transforming individual fleet driver behaviour by helping them to ‘ride the green wave’ is hoped to have both environmental and economic benefits applicable to urban areas across the UK by reducing highway maintenance fleet emissions and improving fuel efficiency.


How does it work?


Large commercial vehicles burn significant amount of extra fuel when idling at traffic lights and also release increased emissions.


By using traffic signal data from a local authority's Urban Traffic Control (UTC) system, the Greenwave App feeds this information back to fleet drivers via their smartphones, advising when the lights are about to change so they can adjust their driving style accordingly and keep moving through green lights. It is predicted that by supporting drivers to ‘ride the green wave’ – rather than making repeated speed changes or idling – savings of approximately 10-15% on fuel can be achieved, as well as a reduction in emissions.


This is all achievable without having to make any hardware modifications – it’s capitalising on existing data and software in an innovative and groundbreaking way.


At the heart of Greenwave is its clever use of gamification, awarding drivers a ‘green score’ every time they take to the wheel based on their driving style and how they approach traffic signals, with the opportunity to incentivise further through league tables and prizes.



Why is it important?


Like many other UK cities, 95% of emissions contributing to air quality in Birmingham are derived from vehicles, many of which are diesel.


Poor air quality is a major issue for the city, with more than 1,500 people estimated to die prematurely each year – amounting to 28,000 across the UK – because of air pollution. These figures are greater than those recorded for obesity, alcoholism and road deaths combined.

In addition, large commercial vehicles are known to burn a significant amount of extra fuel when idling at traffic lights and also produce increased emissions.


Fuel facts for such vehicles include:


  • For every one litre of fuel used by a diesel engine, 2.64 kg of CO2 is released into the atmosphere.

  • Fuel can represent 35% of running costs for fleet operators, possibly more.

  • Depending on the nature of the operation and vehicle types, fleet operators can expect average fuel savings in the region of 1-5% when implementing truck anti-idling measures.


The statistics provide a compelling case for ‘Greenwave’ travel and a need for innovative technology to help make it a reality.


Read more about the targets and the current status of the project here.