UK Government invests over £2.5m in new transport technologies and ideas


The UK Government has announced a £2.5m (US$3.1m) package of awards for companies, individuals and academics to make traveling safer, quicker and more reliable.

The Department for Transport’s (DfT) new transport innovation grants include:

A total of 33 transport technology research innovation grants (T-TRIG) worth a total of £833,000 (US$1m) awarded to early-stage science, engineering or technology innovations; A further round of competition for T-TRIG awards worth £700,000 (US$882,000; A new Innovation Challenge Fund, worth £1m (US$1.26m) to invest in development of promising technology ideas, methods or processes to help meet DfT policy goals.

Taken together, these schemes aim to reduce barriers to innovation and advance technology in transport. The T-TRIG funds cover all forms of transport and help develop high-quality ideas from concept to prototype stage. T-TRIG is open to any UK organization, typically micro, small and medium-sized businesses or academia to support research projects that could lead to the development of successful new transport products, processes or services. The competition is opens to entrants from December 12.

The winners of the July 2016 T-TRIG scheme have each been awarded around £25,000 (US$31,500) each to provide innovative transport solutions that improve safety, improve customer experience, or increase efficiency. Successful projects from this round include:

Novel computing techniques to impact on both the time and accuracy of simulations to predict and measure the impact of investment, improving utilization of the strategic road network; Low-cost optical sensors to measure nitrogen dioxide with greater sensitivity; A smart country road reporting system, which uses sensors to collect real-time data to monitor the environment, road temperature and traffic flow; New methodology that can detect, quantify and continuously monitor changes in travel demand; A novel technique using radar reflecting devices similar to cat’s-eyes, for highly precise lane and carriageway boundary detection; Artificial Intelligence-based software to process video footage in order to count traffic; Developing cutting-edge machine learning techniques for video analytics to gather much more reliable and accurate road data to feed in to traffic signal control, smart motorways and connected/autonomous vehicles; A solar powered eBike charging solution to offer more sustainable travel choices.

Announcing the new innovation funding, UK Transport Minister John Hayes, said, “This government is committed to delivering a much better transport system, and innovation is a vital part of that. We are already making headway and expect to see more smart ideas and technologies coming from this funding. Through these schemes, small businesses and academics gain access to much needed financial support, allowing them to explore new ideas and move innovations on to the next stage of development.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).