Space technology may be used to reduce congestion on roads

A £2.4m project to use space technologies to ease road congestion will launch tomorrow at the National Space Centre in Leicester.

The European Commission-funded scheme led by Leicester University will coordinate research across Europe aimed at developing traffic management systems that can help cut pollution and improve the urban environment.

‘The scientific teams at the heart of the project will be working closely with the bodies responsible for managing traffic, transport and air quality in the UK and European regions to explore how this research can be of value to them,’ said Leicester’s scientific lead on the project, Prof Alan Wells.

‘Our aim is to draw on the strengths of industry and academics working in partnership. We have to be mindful at all stages of the connection between research, policy and how what we are developing can make a difference to the quality of people’s lives.’

The three-year project, entitled Transport Health Environment — Intelligent Solutions Sustaining Urban Economies (THE ISSUE), will support scientists, engineers and development agencies from the different regions in working together.

The scheme brings together research clusters from five European regions, including Molise in Italy, the Midi-Pyrenees and Aquitaine regions in France and Mazovia in Poland.

Other partners in the UK’s East Midlands are De Montfort University, Nottingham University and Astrium Services (Leicester). Leicester City Council is assuming the role of accountable body for the overall project.

The project’s academics hope that the research outcomes will be used to influence future policy and the implementation of traffic management systems that benefit public health and safety.

THE ISSUE is funded as part of the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme — ’Regions of Knowledge’ — which promotes knowledge exchange and joint working between European regions to stimulate economic growth and job creation.