£8m for new transport technology research

Three research projects aimed at improving transport services have been awarded more than £8m as part of a joint initiative by the Technology Strategy Board, Department for Transport and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.The three projects, which will see innovative British companies working collaboratively with academic institutions and network operators, have been awarded the funding through the Government's Future Intelligent Transport Systems initiative, which aims to address the challenge of delivering better transport services while reducing negative environmental impacts.

Foot-LITE is designed to encourage safer, more environmentally-friendly driving styles and behaviours through the development of better driver/vehicle interface systems and services. The project aims to develop products which give drivers information - for example via an in-vehicle display system - that will help them to drive in a way that is safer, cuts congestion and reduces emissions and other negative environmental impacts.

Foot-LITE comprises MIRA Ltd, Hampshire County Council, the IAM, Transport for London and Sussex Police, as demonstrators of innovation provided by the University of Southampton, TRW Conekt, Brunel University, Nissan, RDM, Ricardo, TORG and Zettlex. Footlite will receive funding of £2.6m and the partners will contribute £1.4m of their own funds.

The User Innovation project

To investigate how transport users are already using existing forms of information communication technology (ICT) to enhance transport systems - such as workers using email to organise and manage car-sharing clubs. It will then be possible to identify, develop and exploit new opportunities for existing technologies and services to address challenges facing transport systems and users.

The Future Intelligent Transport Systems initiative is part of the Technology Strategy Board-managed Intelligent Transport Systems and Services Innovation Platform. This brings together Government, business and academia to better understand the UK's key transport issues, and how innovation and new technology can be best used to provide solutions to major transport challenges, such as congestion, pollution and road safety.

The partners in User Innovation are the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE), Loughborough University, Ito World Ltd and Ordnance Survey, who will receive funding of £1.7m and the partners will contribute £0.3m of their own funds.

Rather than simply being told there is a queue on a particular road, drivers want to know how to avoid it while network managers want to know why it is there and how to reduce it. The project will develop tools from innovations already used outside the transport community - such as military "situation awareness" tools - to allow better data manipulation, providing this more intelligent and useful information. This will help to improve safety, reduce congestion and protect the environment in York and London, where the project is based, and demonstrate the benefits to a wider audience.

Freeflow comprises Transport for London and City of York Council, as demonstrators of innovation provided by ACIS, Kizoom, Mindsheet, QinetiQ, Trakm8, Imperial College London, Loughborough University and the University of York. Freeflow will receive funding of £4m and the partners will contribute £1.5m of their own funds.


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