SIEMENS’ traffic specialists in Poole have started work on major schemes in two of Britain’s biggest cities.

In Manchester, the company has embarked on a nine-month programme to upgrade 500 sets of “wait indicator” signs at crossings with energy-saving LED lights.

And in Birmingham, Siemens’ technology is gathering information on vehicle emissions as part of a scheme to discourage the most polluting vehicles.

Siemens won a contract from Transport for Greater Manchester to upgrade signals at crossings and junctions in all 10 districts of Greater Manchester.

The work replacing “wait” lights follows its completion in 2014 of the biggest ever signalling upgrade in the country, when it replaced 52,000 traffic lights bulbs with LED versions.

The latest upgrade is expected to save around £50,000 a year in energy and maintenance the new bulbs will only need to be replaced every seven years on average, saving around 950 standard bulbs a year and around £8,000.

Tony Ellis, regional manager for Siemens, said: “We’re delighted to be able to demonstrate our energy saving capabilities and the maintenance cost reductions of our equipment.

“This has also highlighted the excellent performance of our local engineers to deliver an efficient and class-leading service.”

Siemens’ work in Birmingham is part of a research project supporting the government’s efforts to meet EU air quality targets.

The government has announced plans for ‘clean air zones’ in cities including Birmingham by 2020. The aim is to discourage the most polluting vehicles, such as old buses, coaches and lorries, from entering the zone.

Birmingham City Council’s scheme involves seven automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras at key locations on key routes into the city centre to capture data on the emissions classification of vehicles.

The data will give an indication of the environmental impact of the polluting vehicles and help explore ways of improving air quality.

Siemens, the world’s largest engineering company, employs around 500 people at Sopers Lane in Poole, many of them working on traffic signage and signals used in around the world.