Government seeks ideas to prepare Britain’s roads for influx of driverless and electric cars
The UK government is seeking ideas about how to modernise Britain’s road networks to fit the influx of driverless and electric cars that is anticipated in the next few years.
Highways England and the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) have launched the ‘Roads for the Future’ competition which is seeking ideas from innovators and engineers who, if successful, will receive part of a £200,000 fund to bring them to life.
In particular the government is interested in adapting existing infrastructure to fit new technologies and exploring how cars driven both autonomously and by human drivers can coexist harmoniously.
Up to £30,000 will be awarded to each of the highest-ranking applications with five projects ultimately expected to receive the funds.
Once the successful applicants have completed their projects, the NIC will award a further £50,000 to the applicant judged to have developed the best project.
It will also be looking for ideas that can work on different types of roads, whether a residential avenue, a high street or a motorway.
Entries will be judged by an expert panel, brought together from across industry, academia, regional government and the public sector.
Sir John Armitt, NIC deputy chairman, said: “We’re seeing a revolution on our roads, as more and more people move away from the traditional petrol and diesel car and towards new electric vehicles, the next step, driverless cars, will make an even bigger impact.
“Our Roads For The Future competition offers the chance to be at the cutting edge of shaping how we travel for generations to come.
“That’s why we want to put people’s minds to this test.
“Whether from industry or academia, we want to see them submit their ideas for developing a world-class roads network that can meet the challenge that this new technology presents.”
The Roads For The Future competition closes on March 14.
RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “Technological change within the automotive sector is gathering pace and our roads, more than ever, need to be fit for the future so they support increasingly connected and autonomous vehicles.
“Users of driverless vehicles can look forward to benefits in terms of enhanced mobility, safer roads, improved traffic flow and lower emissions.
“But for all this to succeed, consumers must be sold on these benefits and be fully on-board the journey towards more connected and autonomous vehicles.
“The National Infrastructure Commission’s competition opens the door not only for stakeholders to have a say in the future of our road network but also for road users themselves to engage in the process.
“Upgrading and adapting our road infrastructure is clearly a priority not only for today’s journeys but also for getting the best out of our connected vehicles in the next and subsequent decades.”