The implementation of intelligent transport systems would save £1bn for the UK economy per year
The UK is working on a pilot project to develop country’s first internet-connected road, A14 super highway, one of the country’s most crowded highways that connects the busy container port at Felixstowe to Birmingham.
Being carried out as a joint project between BT, the Department for Transport and the Cambridge based start-up Neul, the task involves deployment of network of sensors along a 50-mile stretch of the A14, which would create a smart road capable gathering traffic data and tranmit them to mobile phones.
In addition, the UK Highways Agency is planning to invest about £1.5bn to improve the A14, which would be recovered by toll.
As part of the project, BT would assist in designing the toll and the road enhancements, which would involve gathering data on car drivers prior to moving on to collect information on heavy goods vehicles.
The gathered information would be retransmitted to a database, which would then be accessed by the Department for Transport.
Capable of delivering signals over the white spaces between TV channels rather than mobile phone networks, the new technology is also anticipated to enable government systems to automatically manage car speeds.
Ofcom, which had recently approved the project as part of its new draft on usage of spectrum, has already visualised about how the technology traffic systems would resemble.
The UK communications regulator said that Machine to machine (M2M) sensors in cars and on the roads monitor the build-up of congestions and wirelessly send this information to a central traffic control system, which automatically imposes variable speed limits that smooth the flow of traffic.
"This system could also communicate directly with cars, directing them along diverted routes to avoid the congestion and even managing their speed," Ofcom said.
Other benefits of M2M communications include intelligent parking guidance in town centres, which would allocate future drivers with parking spaces as they approach, as well as guide them to the vacant space through the quickest route.
The regulator also presses that the road congestion costs the UK economy over £7bn per year, while the deployment of intelligent transport systems would trim down congestion by at least 15%, which could result £1bn in savings per year.