After completing their final assessments, all seven projects have successfully met the criteria needed to take the £30 million ADEPT Live Labs 2: Decarbonising Local Roads programme forward to deployment and procurement.
The final assessments came at the end of a three month fully-funded mobilisation phase where project teams developed their proposals into a specified and costed programme of works. The aim of this phase has been to ensure that each potential Live Lab is capable of successful delivery.
The three-year, UK-wide programme has been developed by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) and funded by the Department for Transport, following the hugely successful Live Labs 1.
Focused on tackling the long-term decarbonisation of highways infrastructure and assets across local roads, Live Labs 2 is bringing innovation to a sector that is traditionally risk adverse.
In a key departure from Live Labs 1, the seven project teams will be working across four interconnected themes:
- A UK centre of excellence for materials – providing a centralised hub for research and innovation for the decarbonisation of local roads materials, developing a knowledge bank, real-life conditions testing and sharing and learning insights: North Lanarkshire Council and Transport for West Midlands.
- Corridor and place-based decarbonisation – a suite of corridor and place-based decarbonisation interventions covering urban through to rural applications, trialling, testing and showcasing applications within the circular economy and localism agendas: Wessex partnership (Somerset County Council, Cornwall Council and Hampshire County Council), Devon County Council, and Liverpool City Council.
- A green carbon laboratory – examining the role that the non-operational highways ‘green’ asset can play in providing a source of materials and fuels to decarbonise highway operations: South Gloucestershire Council & West Sussex County Council.
- A future lighting testbed – a systems-based examination of the future of lighting for local roads to determine what assets are needed for our future networks and how they can be further decarbonised across their lifecycle: East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
The first part of this three-year phase will see procurement for supply partners, materials and services begin now to prepare for deployment.
Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “Taxpayers want to get the biggest bang for their buck, promote high skilled jobs in the UK and to ensure that we can maintain and improve our road network in the least environmentally damaging way possible.
“This targeted £30 million investment in world-leading pioneering and innovative technologies will help harness the first rate skills of British science and industry to help us reduce both the costs and environmental impact of construction, operation and delivery of our roads while boosting regional connections and providing high-skilled jobs across the country.
Mark Kemp, President of ADEPT said: “The decarbonisation of highways infrastructure is both hugely challenging and vital as local authorities work to meet zero targets. Decision-making and behavioural change is as fundamental to success as supply chain and materials, which is why we focused on a fully-funded mobilisation phase. Having procurement and legal strategies already in place will ensure that project procurements run smoothly with potential partners understanding what programme expectations mean for deployment.
“As with Live Labs 1, with partnerships drawn from all over the sector from academia, industry, supply chain partners we will be able to share learning and innovation across the UK and internationally. I am excited to see what comes next.”
ADEPT represents local authority county, unitary and metropolitan directors of place. The Live Labs initiatives are part of ADEPT’s SMART Places programme to support the use of innovation and technology in place-based services.