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Tomorrow's transport

To keep up with growing demand, changes in technology and the need for improved connectivity, commitment to improving transport infrastructure is vital for our economy to thrive.

It is positive to see Government pledging to increase transport investment by 50% between 2015 and 2020 as this will ultimately drive growth and productivity across the UK. It is crucial however that this additional support is put towards projects that make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Government’s efforts to drive forward the use of electric vehicles, for example, is encouraging. Not only will pure electric cars have much lower running costs than diesel vehicles, but they will also produce far lower levels of carbon emissions. London recently welcomed the first electric taxi, which is set to be one of more than 9,000 in service by 2021. Oxford is also paving the way for electric cars, as it strives to be the world’s first zero emissions zone.

Case study: How we help keep the UK moving

Safety in numbers

MIDAS technology at Costain

Working as part of a Highways England/DfT project being led by TRL, the global centre of innovation and transport mobility, Costain is working on the first real-world operational trial of platooning vehicles on UK roads. The trial will go beyond demonstrations to showcase the real-world benefits of connected vehicle platoons in tackling fuel efficiency, driver behaviour, traffic flow and safety. Costain will be working across all four phases of the project, which concludes in 2019, and will be supplying advisory services of safety, risk and Strategic Road Network (SRN) analysis.

Platooning involves two or more HGVs connected through wireless ‘vehicle-to-vehicle communication’ with the lead vehicle controlling the speed, acceleration and braking of the following vehicles. The technology effectively allows them to communicate with each other and operate as a single unit. The pilot will explore whether this autonomous driver technology can improve the fuel efficiency of HGVs to reduce emissions output and increase traffic flow and road capacity. It is also hoped the trial will boost acceptance and understanding by road users ahead of mapping out potential future infrastructure considerations and looking at the commercial case for the adoption of the technology.

"To help our clients meet their challenges and realise opportunities, we are investing to develop solutions through a leading research programme focused specifically on our client needs. Our research team are a focused resource and have diversity of thought through their research interests, skills and feedback as they engage our key stakeholders. These individuals are handpicked based on capability and with a clear focus on having an impact to improve people's lives, I'm delighted to be guiding a world-class team that make future visions a reality through the services we provide our clients."

Alex Vaughan, managing director of natural resources and executive sponsor of research, development and innovation at Costain

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