The story of the CYCLOPS junction

CYCLOPS stands for 'cycle optimised protected signals' and is an innovative new junction design that has been implemented in Hulme. The junction forms part of Greater Manchester’s Bee Network and is innovative in placing the cycle route on the outside of the pedestrian crossings, fully segregating cyclists and improving safety for all road users.

Timescales “The first official drawing of the CYCLOPS junction was completed in 2017, taking three years to get the concept from paper to live on the ground.”

Where did the concept come from and how was it approved? “Greater Manchester has an ambition to become a true cycling and walking city-region which has been spearheaded by cycling and walking commissioner, Chris Boardman. A huge part of this vision is the Bee Network, which will be the UK’s largest joined-up cycling and walking network and aims to provide a genuine alternative to the car. As part of this development, the challenge was presented to provide safer junctions for cyclists whilst maintaining overall junction performance for all modes. We looked to UK and international examples of best practice such as the well-established Dutch system and the CYCLOPS design concept was developed by engineers at Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM). The junction was designed to fit within the existing framework of UK traffic law which meant approval processes were fairly streamlined.”

Innovative features “The key innovative feature of the CYCLOPS junction is the placement of the cycle route being on the outside of the pedestrian crossings. This allows all types of junction arrangements to be incorporated within the external orbital cycle track, from a simple cross roads with full pedestrian stage, to a major intersection requiring complex traffic and pedestrian phasing. Its inherent adaptability enables a comprehensive and uniform provision of cycling facilities at traffic signal junctions and delivers an adaptable template.”

Planning and design challenges “Being the first to do something is always a challenge. Traditionally, cyclists have been positioned on the inside, with pedestrians on the outside, so convincing people that switching their positions would be beneficial was an initial challenge. However, once it became clear that this format created a much more adaptable and flexible design, people got on board and its development quickly took off.”

Space considerations “Space is an important consideration, especially when searching for a design that can be easily adapted to suit different spaces and junction needs. One of the key benefits of the CYCLOPS from and engineering perspective is that by positioning cyclists on the outside, more space is freed up to for whatever functionality is needed on the inside, such as varied crossing infrastructure and signals. Low level cycle signals have been used in the design and we will be installing cycle detection piezo loops to protect cycles and where possible, prioritise a green signal as a bike approaches the crossing.”

Challenges and requirements to rolling this out in other places, including the same city “The CYCLOPS junction is intended to be a vital part of the Bee Network, which when finished will be a network across all 10 GM boroughs. This meant that the design had to be adaptable for a wide range of spaces, needs and signal configurations. The final design, with its exterior orbital cycle route means that it’s incredibly versatile and is a template for all types of junction arrangement, with another 30 already in development and more to follow. The Bee Network has been granted £160m of funding from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund, which has been pivotal in allowing this level of development to take place and be rolled out so smoothly, and will make a genuine positive difference to people travelling across all modes of transport as they get to where they need to be.”

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2020 Vision Zero Leaders Award sponsors

We're grateful for the support of driive and Reflex Vehicle Hire, joint sponsors of Brake's 2020 Vision Zero Leaders Awards.

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Alison Moriarty, Fleet Risk Director from driive said: “It’s so fantastic to see hard work and dedication to improving road safety rewarded. All the winners showed outstanding commitment and this led to them achieving their results. DRiiVE is all about making the roads safer for every road user and we are delighted to co-sponsor this event with our friends at Reflex who share our passion.”

Find out more about driive here.

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Lisa Spong, Sales Director at Reflex Vehicle Hire, said: “As a safety-centric company, Reflex Vehicle Hire take on a duty of care to protect a multitude of people. Not only do we feel the need to support our drivers and customers but all other road users too. Our aim is that no one should come to harm whilst driving a Reflex vehicle. This message permeates from the board room right through the business across all teams that carry out unparalleled levels of support. Working alongside Brake for a number of years has been an important part of our journey that allows us to expand on our knowledge and share the vital message of road safety. Shining a spotlight on these businesses and individuals is imperative to congratulate them on their magnificent efforts.”

Find out more about Reflex Vehicle Hire here.

Supporting organisations

This award was delivered in collaboration with Road Safety GB who helped us identify nominees and pick a winner. We're hugely grateful for their support.