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Leeds Council and Exeter firm win Roads for the Future funding


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Leeds City Council and Exeter based City Science have won £25,000 each to support projects on the use of digital tech and data to improve transport and road networks.

They took the prizes from a competition organised by the National Infrastructure Commission to look at how roads could be prepared for technology such as driverless cars.

The Leeds initiative will look at how data generated from digitally connected cars could be used to improve traffic light sequencing, allowing highway authorities to better manage traffic and reduce tailbacks.

Data company City Science is going to examine how sections of roads in urban areas could initially be dedicated to driverless vehicles. This could be a key step in kickstarting their take-up and integrating them safely into the existing transport network.

The competition attracted 81 entries with five being shortlisted.

Leeds’ executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, Councillor Richard Lewis, said: “We want Leeds to be a smart city and at the forefront of developing technologies to help transform our transport network to improve people’s everyday lives.

“While digitally connected and autonomous vehicles are still a long way down the road, they have the potential to offer massive benefits in major cities like Leeds. We look forward to continuing our work with all our partners and stakeholders to turn this innovation into reality.”

Promoting healthy cities

City Science’s chief executive, Laurence Oakes-Ash, said: “It is essential that we get the roll out of connected and autonomous vehicles right, using them in ways that can integrate with mass transit, promote healthy cities and create successful communities.”

The competition’s result follows publication of the UK’s first ever National Infrastructure Assessment, which examined preparing the country’s roads for both electric and driverless cars.

Among its recommendations were that the Government should develop a research framework for connected and autonomous vehicles, particularly focusing on the changes that will be required to the way that roads are planned, designed and operated to maximise the benefits that they could bring.

Image by philld CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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