The UK government sees connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) as an important strategic opportunity and so continues to invest heavily in their development and introduction. Perhaps less visible is government funded work to connect existing vehicles and the roads they use, largely led by local road authorities with support from UK industry. The UK is a leader in this area and is already demonstrating benefits of connectivity.
This strongly supports the Government’s aims for decarbonisation and will unlock reductions in road casualties and contribute to improvements in public health and social inclusion. The Department for Transport (DfT) and a wide range of local authorities have already invested over £8m in 43 projects across the UK looking at ways in which Co-operative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) can contribute to this. This co-operation is between vehicles and road infrastructure, and between road authorities, industry and users. This benefits all road users through smarter parking, by using new data to address problems including road maintenance, better ways to set traffic signals to reduce emissions and congestion and the provision of better information and intelligence. These projects are showing how C-ITS can boost productivity, increase safety, help revitalise high streets and reduce real-world costs for local authorities. The projects took place in large and small cities and on rural and urban networks. They made use of public and private data from new and old vehicles and new in-vehicle and existing cellular communications. A variety of road users have been involved, from bicycles to buses and refuse vehicles, to increase the breadth of evidence gathered.