The National Infrastructure Commission and Highways England have up to £200,000 to invest in projects that look at changes to roads and related infrastructure that would maximise the benefits of driverless and connected vehicle technologies.
It has been widely suggested that self-driving cars could be in wide use on UK roads within the next decade, although not everyone believes it.
But if it does happen, the way roads are used could change as a result. Vehicles could move in convoys, there may be no need for traffic lights, and lane directions could change depending on the time of day.
The competition for research funding is seeking practical ideas on designing and managing roads in three areas:
- road design and related infrastructure including line markings, signs, posts, gantries, crash barriers and lighting columns
- traffic management such as traffic signals and any other means of controlling traffic flow
- road rules and regulations including speed limits and waiting or loading restrictions.
Funding for the competition is through Innovate UK’s Small Business Research Initiative. Up to £150,000 is available for feasibility studies in a first phase. The best project could attract £50,000 to develop it further in a second phase.
The deadline for registration is 7th March 2018. A briefing event will be held on 31st January 2018.