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Five shortlisted in “Roads for the Future” competition

Smart traffic lights, flexible use of kerbsides, segregated driverless zones, and sat-navs learning through artificial intelligence are among the ideas shortlisted in a UK-wide competition to design roads fit for driverless cars.

Launched in January with Highways England and Innovate UK, The Roads for the Future competition sought ideas for preparing the UK’s road network for the growth of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

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.

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:

  • AECOM – 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
  • Arup – 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
  • City Science – based in Exeter, this entry examines 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 Simulations – addressing how the latest artificial intelligence could be used to help sat-nav systems to ‘learn’ better routes to improve the directions given, so that both driven and driverless cars could change course to avoid congestion. Working with Oxfordshire County Council, the concept will be tested using simulations of four busy local roads: Abingdon Road, Thames Street, Oxpens Road, and Botley Road
  • Leeds City Council – examining how the data generated from digitally connected cars could be used to improve traffic light systems, allowing highway authorities to better manage traffic on their roads and reduce tailbacks. The team will use models of roads across Leeds to test this idea.

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. Separately, four other commended entries are being put in contact with leading figures across Government and industry to test their ideas.

This article is from Smart Highways Magazine. Read More