In today’s Budget, The Chancellor of the Exchequer made a number of transport and infrastructure related announcements, including a £100 million investment into the Research and Development of Intelligent Mobility, focused on driverless cars and the systems required to support their introduction.
In his speech George Osborne said the government would, “back our brilliant automotive industry by investing £100 million to stay ahead in the race to driverless technology.”
The 2015 Budget was stated as a, 'significant package of measures for a truly national recovery by investing in infrastructure, housing, science and innovation across the whole of the UK'.
Science and innovation
Transport and innovation related announcements included in the budget included:
Internet of Things – The government will invest £40 million to develop Internet of Things technologies through large scale demonstrator programmes, business incubator space and a research centre. The funding will focus on healthcare, social care and smart cities.
Intelligent Mobility – The government will make a £100 million investment into the Research and Development of Intelligent Mobility, which will focus on enhancing the development of driverless car technology and the wider systems required to implement and adopt the technology – such as telecommunications.
Regulations that inhibit innovation – The government will engage with business to determine where regulations inhibit innovation, including disruptive technologies, and develop a programme for addressing this in the next Parliament.
Science grand challenge funding – The government will launch a £400 million competitive fund for new world leading scientific infrastructure. Projects will seek matched funding from industry and charities.
To address growth in the economy measures are to be introduced to support the ‘sharing economy’ and measures are to be introduced, following a review. The government said it will enable government employees to use sharing economy solutions to book accommodation and transport when travelling on official business, where this represents value for money, and it will encourage Local Authorities to use their business rates discretionary relief powers to support the sharing economy, including shared workspaces and ‘makerspaces’.
The government will launch two pilots in Leeds City Region and Greater Manchester in 2015-16, to trial local sharing initiatives in the areas of shared transport, shared public space, and health and social care.
These and other initiatives are set out in the government’s response to the independent review of the sharing economy.
The government said, with Transport for the North, that it will shortly publish the interim report of the Northern Transport Strategy, which will set out the strategic options for future transport investment in the north of England.
It will also seek to address address a shortage of qualified HGV drivers by speeding up driver qualification.
Highways England will launch its Delivery Plan plan before the end of this parliament in which it will set out further detail on the roads investment programme from 2015-2020.
The government will continue to work with the Transport Systems Catapult and industry to develop a solution to ensure bus travel remains accessible to blind and deaf users.
The government has launched a consultation into the compulsory purchase regime to make it clearer, faster and fairer to support brownfield development.