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£2m fund for UK councils to tackle congestion

The UK is the sixth most congested country in Europe and London has the dubious honour of being Europe’s most congested city

New technologies to help the challenge of congestion
New technologies to help the challenge of congestion

The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has announced a £2 million fund to allow councils to capitalise on emerging technologies and deliver better journeys for motorists.


This was announced on the same day that the DfT released its Provisional road traffic estimates, Great Britain: July 2015 - June 2016, which has seen an increase of 1.5 per cent in traffic, and a decrease of 2.5 per cent in the average speed in the UK from the previous year.


Local authorities have been invited by the DfT to apply for a share of the £2 million fund to develop projects to improve car journeys, which could include technology that will allow vehicles to communicate with one another and roadside sensors to provide drivers with real-time traffic intelligence.


Councils will also look at how warnings about changing weather and traffic conditions can be sent directly to vehicles, so drivers can plan ahead, thereby helping to ensure quicker, more efficient and safer journeys.


Roads minister Andrew Jones said, “I want to deliver better, more enjoyable journeys and this £2 million fund will help councils invest in new technology to enhance the experience of driving.


"Britain has a proud history of innovation and I am delighted that councils will be able to use this money to develop systems to make journeys easier and safer.”


Bids are expected to range between £30,000 and £300,000 and councils are expected to provide at least five per cent of their project’s cost.


The deadline for bids is 5pm on Friday 30 September 2016, and those councils who have made successful bids will be announced in November.


Schemes are expected for completion by March 2018.


The INRIX 2015 Traffic Scorecard, published earlier this year, which analysed congestion in the UK and in more than 100 cities worldwide, found that the UK was the sixth most congested country in Europe.

London was found to be the most congested city in Europe, and the first city to surpass 100 hours, or more than four days, wasted per driver.


Commenting on London’s congestion, Dr. Graham Cookson, chief economist at Inrix said: “Solving London’s traffic problem requires a deep understanding and awareness of its route causes.

“Transport for London (TfL) is making significant efforts to future-proof the city, which will benefit both road users and the London economy. However, it’s a case of short-term pain and long-term gain. Roadworks driven by ongoing improvements to London’s road, as well as a rise in goods vehicles, are major causes of congestion in the capital.”

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