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Autonomous and connected vehicles is so...

Autonomous and connected vehicles is so tomorrow’s solution – what about today?

Autonomous and connected vehicles. It’s an ongoing part of any discussion involving intelligent transport systems, road safety solutions and traffic safety in the UK.

Turn up at virtually any event on any given day in the industry calendar or open any industry magazine and someone will be talking about how autonomous or connected vehicles are the future.

Autonomous vehicles

It was a core theme of the ITS World Congress in Bordeaux recently.

Atkins recently published an interesting report on it. It’s been a hot topic for the newly-formed Transport Technology Forum and the British Parking Association Conference even had sessions devoted to it.

And rightly so.

It is vital that we look forward at what will be coming in years ahead. But the reality is that whilst some early on road trials are starting to happen such as the LUTZ Pathfinder project in Milton Keynes, UK, the German HGV trial and of course other driverless cars in US (e.g. Google) and key auto manufacturers across Europe all doing their own thing, we are still a long way off from these being a commercial reality for mainstream use.

There are no standards agreed and given that the average lifetime of a vehicle is 10 years, it will take a long time for these vehicles to become mainstream, even when we reach the point where we do have a proven solution that we can adopt.

But the main point of this blog is that whilst these may be great for the future, we have a real problem with congestion on our roads today that cannot wait until 2030 to be fixed.

It’s also fair to say that no one single solution will ever be the silver bullet. Not even autonomous vehicles -not every vehicle will be connected; there will always be a place for the unconnected ‘analogue’ vehicles of the past -classic motors and vintage sports cars – or will those be banned too?

Right now, today, traffic congestion in cities can be significantly reduced through a range of measures, such as connecting visitors quicker with available parking spaces, letting them know about challenges affecting their route or even just journey time information, employing adaptive traffic signal control to optimise flow across your network or using dynamic lane marking to manage traffic flow at peak times.

Ultimately, it’s about empowering citizens with information to make better choices about their journeys, whether that be to take an alternative route, to delay their journey or to choose a different mode or modes of transport to complete that journey.

As leading providers of congestion monitoring solutions and intelligent transport systems, we love to assist on these complex topics, please feel free to get in touch with us here.

 Uploaded 30/11/2015