Two ITS (UK) members, AECOM and Arup are among five organisations with ideas shortlisted in a UK-wide competition to design roads fit for driverless cars.
AECOM has been chosen by the National Infrastructure Commission for its work examining how smart signals could advise drivers and vehicles the speed they should drive at, so they arrive at the next set of traffic lights just as they turn green, helping to cut congestion and ending polluting ‘stop-go’ driving. The concept will be tested using a simulation model of the A59 in York.
Meanwhile Arup is looking at how kerbsides with fixed features such as double yellow lines, parking bays and bus stops could become more flexible, their use changing according to the time of day and levels of demand to meet the most pressing needs. The team will select a typical high street in London to test their FlexKerbs model.
Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt said he and the competition jury had found the quality of entries to the Roads for the Future competition “very impressive”, particularly how the entrants sought to make maximum use of the infrastructure already available.
Launched in January with Highways England and Innovate UK, Roads for the Future sought ideas for preparing the UK’s road network for the growth of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).
The Commission received 81 entries and Sir John and chair of the judging panel Bridget Rosewell confirmed the five going through to the competition’s final round are also included City Science for its work on how sections of existing roads could be dedicated to driverless cars, making it easier to manage any risk and integrate CAVs into the existing transport network, Immense Solutions addressing how the latest artificial intelligence could be used to help sat-nav systems and Leeds City Council for examining how the data generated from digitally connected cars could be used to improve traffic light systems.
These five teams will now receive up to £30,000 each to test their ideas, with a £50,000 prize available for the overall winner, to be announced later this autumn.
Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt said, “We can see for ourselves the progress in developing cars for the future, with trials of driverless cars taking place across the country – we now need to make sure the technology on our roads keeps up. The creativity and ingenuity of all the entries we received was very impressive, with many making the most of our existing network to prepare for these latest innovations. These five entries clearly stood out and I look forward to seeing how their ideas develop further over the coming months.”
Heather Hawkins, Principal Consultant at AECOM said, “We are excited and are eager to get started so we can better understand the potential impact of vehicle-to-infrastructure technologies on our local road network in York. We are fortunate to be living and working in a city which has chosen to be an early innovator, deploying and testing these technologies on street through existing research programmes – it’s truly inspiring and we are grateful to be a part of it!”
Harrison Peck, Transport Planner, Arup commented, “With the arrival of connected and autonomous vehicles around the corner, it’s critical that we make sure our city streets are equipped to respond to them. We believe that intelligently managed kerbside space is the key to unlocking the benefits of a CAV-enabled world, while maintaining vibrant streets where people want to walk, cycle, and take public transport.”
Plans for the Roads for the Future competition were announced as part of the Chancellor’s Budget statement in November 2017.