Local authorities see connected vehicle solutions first hand at Innovation Festival

The Chair of the Transport Technology Forum’s Connected Vehicle Working Group is praising the value of the LCRIG Innovation Festival in spreading the word about the here-and-now connected applications within the transport industry.

Andy Graham of White Willow Consulting was reflecting on two days of demonstrations at the Festival in Newark in which a range of connected solutions were showcased.

Supported by the Department for Transport and Innovate UK, the demonstrations included relaying fixed and variable message signs into different vehicles, along with virtual signs, entry and exit from Clean Air Zones, moving cyclist and pedestrian warnings and a live demonstration of eCall.

The real-time pedestrian warnings were delivered in co-operation with Navtech Radar using a solution that was only built the evening before the Innovation Festival, yet worked perfectly throughout the two day event.  The demonstration showed that this in-car alerting technology could also be used with stopped vehicles, which convinced Mr Graham it could be a new tool for road safety.

“The TTF is all about helping local authorities understand technology, and the future. I think we’ve certainly done that talking to many local authority people,” Mr Graham said.  “One person asked if we had thought of doing a particular solution and we were able to show him exactly what he was asking for in a few yards around the test track!

“It was also pleasing to see National Highways and people from the devolved administrations as well as the Republic of Ireland coming and seeing as well, so we’d like to think we spread the word a bit.”

For the first time, delegates at an event could try out the technology in their own cars using a special Android app.  Many  took advantage of the opportunity, and their feedback will be used in future development.

The zone featured a real-time kerbside management display from Grid Smarter Cities, shown at an event for the first time.  “The ability to showcase smart sign and current management platform in the TTF Innovation Zone has been invaluable,” added Strategic Partnership Director Toby Hiles.  “We have had several positive conversations which should give us a huge return on the investment of being at the Innovation Festival, and I look forward to coming back next year bringing more signs, and also updates on the leads and the contracts these will bring.”

As well as White Willow Consulting, Grid Smarter Cities and Navtech Radar, the TTF demonstrations were also supported by KL Systems, SRL, Crystal Driver App, Portsmouth City Council and VESOS Solutions.

The TTF also showcased the Manual for Smart Streets at the event, with DfT ITS Policy Lead Darren Capes highlighting the interactive web resource delivering guidance to ensure local authorities understand the development, specification, procurement and use of technology by road authorities.  He explained how it initially sets out ‘use cases’ exploring how new and emerging technology can be used to realise transport policy aims.

The 2023 Innovation Festival was twice the size of its inaugural event a year ago, and brought together local authorities, central government, the supply chain, associations and academia to see the latest ideas in highways maintenance and transport technology. More than 175 local authority delegates from 70 authorities attended, meaning around than two-thirds of all the English highway authorities outside London were represented, along with nearly 90 exhibitors.

(Picture – TTF)


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