£23m smart transport programme launched
A £22.9m programme will see eight local authority-led projects develop and test prototypes and applications across SMART materials, communications, energy and mobility.
The SMART Places Live Labs programme is being funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered by The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport’s (ADEPT) with the specific aim of introducing digital innovation outside the Strategic Roads Network.
Projects range from harvesting renewable energy from roads and innovative data analytics to using plastics in road surfacing treatment.
In total ADEPT received 28 bids from local authorities across the country. The eight successful projects are being led by Buckinghamshire County Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Cumbria County Council, Reading Borough Council, Suffolk County Council, alongside joint entries by Solihull Council and Birmingham City Council (West Midlands), and Kent and Staffordshire County Councils.
Hannah Bartram, Chief Operating Officer for ADEPT said: ‘Live Labs is a really exciting programme for ADEPT. It gives local highways authorities and their partners the opportunity to innovate, test and introduce new applications for emerging SMART technologies across the local road network.
‘It is the first of our research and development programmes to attract significant national funding and I want to thank DfT for supporting this project.
‘I also want to thank our corporate partners, without whom the whole SMART Places programme could not have happened. We look forward to sharing outcomes and learning with both local highways authorities and the wider highways sector.’
Giles Perkins, Head of Future Mobility at WSP added: ‘The whole SMART Places Programme has provided a significant body of research for the roads sector. Live Labs will bring that research to life through rigorous prototyping and development.
‘We want to see these projects succeed to give local authorities across the county scaleable and achievable innovation, ready to roll out across the local road network.’