Roads for the Future competition: sector reaction

Published: 15 Jan 2018



The evening sun shining over the M25 motorway

Laura Shoaf, Managing Director, Transport for the West Midlands

“Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) technology is so important not only to the future of our automotive industry but also the West Midlands economy and we are determined to remain at the cutting edge of research and development in this field.

“The pioneering work already underway here includes the West Midlands CAV test bed which uses an 80km network of real world, urban roads that will help shape the way our highway infrastructure is used in the years ahead.

“But it’s also important we challenge our own thinking and this competition will help us do that by offering people the chance to showcase their best and most innovative ideas. That’s a really exciting prospect and why I’m so pleased to have been asked to be on the judging panel.”

Edmund King, President, AA

“We need to future-proof our roads now to keep ahead of fast changing vehicle technology. We have some of the safest roads in the world, but we should strive for a world of zero road deaths.

“In a future landscape of connected and driverless vehicles, this competition could be an important catalyst to ensure the safety of all road users, as well as a blueprint to ease congestion and keep the economy moving.”

David Bizley, Chief Engineer, RAC

“Users of driverless vehicles can look forward to benefits in terms of enhanced mobility, safer roads, improved traffic flow and lower emissions. But for all this to succeed, consumers must be sold on these benefits and be fully on-board the journey towards more connected and autonomous vehicles.

“The National Infrastructure Commission’s competition opens the door not only for stakeholders to have a say in the future of our road network but also for road users themselves to engage in the process. Upgrading and adapting our road infrastructure is clearly a priority not only for today’s journeys but also for getting the best out of our connected vehicles in the next and subsequent decades.”

Professor Richard Batley, Director, Institute for Transport Studies

“Just as conventional motorised vehicles transformed the movement of people and goods during the 20th century, the advent of driverless vehicles promises to stimulate similarly radical change during the 21st century. To date, research on driverless vehicles has focused largely upon the interaction between people and the new technology.

The importance of this competition is that it shines a light on the likely implications for the UK’s infrastructure needs – and encourages us to develop Roads for the Future that will secure the best possible outcomes in terms of economic growth, energy use, social equity and liveable cities.”

Richard Burnett, Chief Executive, Road Haulage Association

“As automotive technology develops apace, the road network infrastructure needs to be ready and future-proofed for new generations of private and commercial transport.

“Autonomous and connected vehicles will be a reality on our roads one day so it’ll take some innovative thinking to make it all work. The haulage sector will be keen to see how the road network evolves to accommodate new approaches such as truck platooning.

“This is a really exciting initiative that will engage key people to help transform the roads of today into the roads of tomorrow.”

Paul Campion, Chief Executive, Transport Systems Catapult

“This National Infrastructure Commission’s competition provides an excellent opportunity to look ahead and prepare for the introduction of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. There are countless projects looking at how to make Connected and Autonomous vehicles ‘work’ in a technical sense. However, as this technology comes closer to realisation, industry and government will need to think more and more about how they will be ‘used’.

“These vehicles will not be a one for one replacement of existing vehicles, they will disrupt the network and open whole new ways of providing transport. Preparing our roads for this change is a vital step toward successful integration of this new technology and an excellent opportunity for innovative UK businesses looking to leave a mark on the future of transport.”

Steve Gooding, Director, RAC Foundation

“Our road system is as vital a utility as the power, water and telecoms networks and it needs to be future-proof.

“Whilst it would be a tall order to second-guess every technology set to emerge in the years to come, it would be good to see our best and brightest rise to the challenge of ensuring our road infrastructure is fit for purpose, looking beyond network capacity to address both the nature and the condition of the network we will need.”

Daniel Ruiz, Chief Executive, Meridian Mobility Technology

“The UK can become the world leader in the development of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) and the environment they operate in.

“Meridian was created to integrate existing facilities and capabilities to test and develop CAVs and we’re looking forward to hearing the exciting ideas which will emerge from the Roads for the Future challenge.

“We’re in a global race for sustainable mobility and the winners from this competition will undoubtedly play a role with us in helping the UK’s future social and economic prosperity.”

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