A group of public sector organisations has begun to create a corridor to test new road and vehicle technology on a section of the A2/M2 in Kent.
Highways England, the Department for Transport, Kent County Council and Transport for London have already staged a ‘Testfest’ to showcase how vehicles and roadside infrastructure could talk to each other on a major road.
The project is testing how information about road conditions, road works and time left for traffic lights to change to green can be transmitted to test vehicles via a wireless network.
Highways England said the week-long Testfest attracted more than 60 people from the automobile world to allow them to understand the technology and see how it could be used in the construction of future vehicle designs.
It is aimed at providing drivers and fleet managers with the information and tools to make real time decisions and helping to quickly improve traffic flows along the corridor.
Highways England said it also has the potential to improve safety by providing more information about traffic conditions ahead. Displays on screens inside vehicles can reduce the likelihood of drivers missing information on roadside signs, ending the problem of obscured signs caused by vegetation or when passing other vehicles.
Its head of Intelligent Transport Systems Group Jo White said: “Connecting vehicles to each other and the road around can improve journeys, make them safer and give drivers reliable, real time personalised information; it could also help us manage traffic and respond to incidents.
“We’re supporting the Government’s aim to be world leading in the development of connected and autonomous vehicles. The Testfest is a vital part of that, because it means the initiatives we take forward and the vehicles being developed all align so drivers continue to have safe journeys in the future.”
Named the A2/M2 Connected Corridor, the project is part of InterCor, an EU programme to test services that work across borders, connecting the UK to the Netherlands, France and Belgium.
Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0