Local councils get £2m fund to improve car journeys

A £2m fund has been announced enabling local authorities to enhance motorists’ journeys through emerging technologies.

With the UK population ever increasing and increasingly mobile, local authorities need to attract as well as maintain local residents. Mobility can create opportunity for local authorities, as it becomes more common for individuals to commute long distances to work in order to live in the place of their choice. Ensuring that this commute is as stress free as possible is ever more important and is central to the continued prosperity of local areas.  

Roads minister Andrew Jones commented: “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.”

The new fund will see the application of technology to ensure that motorists journeys are efficient, safe, and relatively stress free. While some technology forms can pose a distraction to drivers, such as using a handheld mobile, others help build entire smart cities, keeping motorists informed about exact road conditions, or the number of spaces left in a car park.

Smart technology for motorists can include everything from the use of public weather monitoring, risk monitoring software used by insurers, GPS generated road condition alerts, up to the moment traffic or parking updates, as well as the potential use of autonomous vehicles. 

Given the fast-paced evolution of technology, the possibilities are endless and one technology may not be suited to benefit all areas of the UK. Embracing the spirit of UK innovation, as well as the need for local communities to define how technology can benefit residents, the Department of Transport will be accepting applications for grant funding from local authorities. 

Councils will be expected to provide five per cent of the project cost, with the bids expected to range from £30,000 to £300,000 and project timelines to ideally finalise by March 2018.

Grant funding applications must be submitted prior to 30 September, with the announcement of successful councils expected in November 2016.

Click here to apply for grant funding.