Reading – PBA led the bidding team awarded £4.75m of funding by the Department for Transport (DfT) to trial smart technology across Berkshire to reduce delays and energy use.
On 31 January, the DfT announced the winning project teams across the UK would receive £23m of funding for research and trials on new approaches to reduce delays and energy use by making better use of our infrastructure, incorporating the use of smart technology.
Real-world tests of technologies, information sharing, energy use and new road surfaces in eight local authorities will see which emerging innovations provide long-term solutions. The ‘Live Labs’ projects will be delivered by councils — including Kent, Staffordshire, Reading, Suffolk and Solihull and Birmingham — and if successful, could be adopted by other authorities.
Scott Witchalls, PBA Director Transport and Infrastructure, commented:
“This is great news for our team and ultimately for the travelling public across Berkshire. We’ve been introducing Smart Technology to transport infrastructure for several years and this is the latest in a series of funding that we’ve secured to get Reading into the list of the world’s top Smart Cities. But more importantly, it’s about delivering a better future for our communities and businesses by reducing travel disruption and reducing costs. We’ll be trialling ways to get lower charge costs and more use of electric vehicles, showing people which routes to take to avoid roadworks and pollution hotspots, and recycling materials for more rapid road repair.”
Describing the trial project, Rob McDonald, PBA Director of Smart Infrastructure, said:
“The team will use existing infrastructure and smart communication technology. Existing sources of data from traffic signal detectors will be fused with mobile phone data to provide a multi-modal view of real-time movement across the Thames Valley. This will link with air quality data to produce a public health exposure model. We expect the data to inform transport, environment and planning projects throughout the Thames Valley region.”
Partners in the team include Reading Borough Council, 02 Telefonica, who took a leading role with their start-up Wayra, Siemens, University of Reading, Smarter Grid Solutions, Wokingham Borough Council, Bracknell Forest Council, West Berks Council, Slough Borough Council, Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, and Shoothil.
Other successful schemes include expanding the test of plastics in roads in Cumbria, using kinetic energy from Buckinghamshire roads to power lighting, and using geothermal energy created from paths to keep car parks and bus stations in central Bedfordshire from freezing over.
Each of the shortlisted organisations will now present to a panel of judges and the winner will be announced on 12 July at Grosvenor House Hotel, London.
The full shortlist can be viewed here.