Transport projects win research funding

Three UK research projects aimed at delivering better and less environmentally-damaging transport services have been awarded more than £8m of public funding.

The three projects, which will see companies working collaboratively with academic institutions and network operators, have been awarded the funding through the Government's Future Intelligent Transport Systems initiative. This is a joint initiative by the Technology Strategy Board, Department for Transport and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Minister of State for Transport Rosie Winterton said: "We know we cannot simply build our way out of congestion. We are committed to exploring innovative ways of getting more from the existing transport network. These three projects will help us to continue to provide a transport system that balances the needs of the economy, the environment and society."

The three projects selected to share the £8m FITS investment are called Freeflow, Foot-Lite and User Innovation.

Freeflow aims to benefit both transport users and operators by improving the use of transport data. Drivers want to know not only that there is a queue on a particular road but also how to avoid it. 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 more useful information.

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.

Foot-Lite 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, 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 will address the underpinning theme of the FITS programme. It will investigate how people are already using 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 partners in User Innovation are the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE), Loughborough University, Ito World and Ordnance Survey, who will receive funding of £1.7m and the partners will contribute £0.3m of their own funds.

Image: Better traffic information should help drivers avoid queues

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