August 22, 2016 11:36
Councils investing in new technology to enhance the driving experience
The department for transport has recently announced that they will be allocating £2 million to councils upon application. The purpose being to better implement technology on UK roads in order to provide better journeys for motorists.
The plan also involves using technology to allow vehicles to better communicate with one another and road-side sensors providing real time traffic info. 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.” He also added “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.”
Councils will look at how they can go about sending warnings about traffic and changing weather conditions directly to vehicles giving motorists the ability to plan ahead, making the roads a more efficient place for everybody. Previous schemes like this include Westminster City Council developing an app that directs drivers to vacant parking spaces in the central London area, taking payment automatically upon arrival.
Just how significant will it be?
Councils are able to apply for funding by pitching their project ideas to the governing bodies. Funding ranges from £30,000 to £300,00 although around 5% of the total cost is expected to be covered by the council themselves. Councils have until 5pm on Friday the 30 September to submit their bids with successful councils being revealed in November.
Whilst this is quite obviously a step in the right direction in updating how we interact with our roads, there are those that are more skeptical about the impact that this will have. A spokesperson from the AA said “£2 million doesn’t seem like very much, but it’s good to see connected technology being encouraged. If it helps to show technology can make a real impact on congestion and accident rates, then it’s a welcome start, but this money is not going to help fill potholes which, you could argue, is what councils should be focusing on.”
To wrap it up, I think it is definitely a positive step to bringing our roads up to date with the incredible technology we have at our disposal in 2016. However £2 million to be distributed across the entire country is not likely to be very impactful in the grand scheme of things, but hopefully this will spur on more funding for this type of thing in the future.