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George Osborne outlines new measures to establish the UK as a global centre for excellence in connected and autonomous vehicles

In his budget presented today, The Chancellor The Rt Hon George Osborne MP confirmed some pre-announced plans released to the press at the weekend, designed as additional measures to further the UK as a global centre for excellence in connected and autonomous vehicles.

Within the Roads part of the Transport and infrastructure section of the Budget Report, the government said it will:

  • conduct trials of driverless cars on the strategic road network by 2017
  • consult this summer on sweeping away regulatory barriers within this Parliament to enable autonomous vehicles on England’s major roads
  • establish a £15 million ‘connected corridor’ from London to Dover to enable vehicles to communicate wirelessly with infrastructure and potentially other vehicles
  • carry out trials of truck platooning on the strategic road network
  • start trials of comparative fuel price signs on the M5 between Bristol and Exeter by spring 2016 to drive fuel price competition and help motorists save money.

 

Last summer, The Department for Transport and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announced that its Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (C-CAV) - that co-ordinates government policy on driverless cars and connected technology - was working on a range of new technological developments, including plans to test new roadside communication technology to improve traffic flow and safety through ‘connected corridors’. This would pilot technology that will provide drivers with useful journey and safety information.

The Department for Transport has conducted feasibility studies to support implementation of such 'connected corridors' on the A102, A2 and M2 between London and Dover, with first deployment planned in 2017 and interoperability with other European corridors as goal.

KTN is actively engaged in the work of C-CAV, and is placed to alert readers to opportunities as they are announced.

 

National Infrastructure Commission proposals accepted - new studies commissioned on 5G deployment and growing the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford ‘corridor’

The Budget also confirmed that the government has accepted the recommendations of the recently established National Infrastructure Commission, by giving the green light to major projects including Crossrail 2, and High Speed 3 between Leeds and Manchester.

  • The government is providing £300 million of funding to improve northern transport connectivity and is giving the green light to High Speed 3 between Leeds and Manchester to reduce journey times to around 30 minutes.
  • The government is also giving the green light to Crossrail 2, supported by £80 million to help fund development.
  • It will also support innovation in storage and other smart technologies, and an increased level of ambition on interconnection, which the NIC estimates could unlock benefits to UK consumers of up to £8 billion per year.

The Budget 2016 also announced that the commission will carry out two new studies:

  • an assessment of how the UK can become a world leader in 5G deployment, and how it can take early advantage of the potential benefits of 5G services. This review will include a case study of the south-west of England.
  • proposals for unlocking growth, housing and jobs in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor – the commission will report on the strategic infrastructure priorities needed to generate further growth and maximise the potential of this corridor, which encompasses some of the UK’s fastest-growing and most productive cities.

The government is consulting on the structure, governance and operation of the commission, which is currently in interim form, and proposes to introduce legislation to put it on a statutory footing. The public consultation closes on 17 March.

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