NIC announces innovative AECOM project as a finalist for their prestigious CAV funding award

A leading-edge proposal developed by global infrastructure firm AECOM has been announced as a finalist in the prestigious ‘SBRI: roads for the future for connected and autonomous vehicles’ funding award. The project will investigate the benefits of technology that enables traffic signals to ‘talk’ to vehicles.


A share of up to £200,000 has been made available from the National Infrastructure Commission and Highways England, for finalists proposing innovative ideas that will change how UK roads are designed, managed and used, to maximise the benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).


The competition proposal developed by Heather Hawkins and Katy Thorpe from AECOM’s Transportation team, will be overseen by Innovate UK as competition delivery partner and will investigate the benefits of technology that enables traffic signals to ‘talk’ to vehicles, with the aim of providing insight as to where and when vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) communication should be deployed on urban traffic signal infrastructure.


GLOSA is a technology which aims to reduce stop-start behaviour at traffic signals by communicating optimal speed information from the traffic signals to approaching vehicles and drivers.  If vehicles change speed as advised, the signal is more likely to be green when they reach the stop line, thereby avoiding the performance overhead of a complete stop.  The technology claims to provide benefits such as reducing vehicle emissions and congestion in towns and cities- an assertion which the team intend to investigate as part of this proposal.


Of the win Katy Thorpe, Associate Director at AECOM said:


“We are absolutely delighted to be chosen as a finalist and to receive funding which will enable our project proposal to come to fruition.


“Local authorities are facing a plethora of technological challenges in the short / medium term in preparation for CAVs.  They want to benefit from new communications technology that is already available; but they need to balance this against the risks associated with deploying the technology too quickly, without guidance as to where the infrastructure should be updated to maximise benefits.


“Our proposal is to study the impact of different scenarios for  V2I communication; specifically traffic signal infrastructure, using micro-simulation to provide insight into where and when this technology should be deployed”.


The team will develop a base micro-simulation model that will represent existing conditions for part of the A59 urban traffic corridor in York, and use it as a benchmark to test various GLOSA strategies under different scenarios.  By simulating the detailed geometry of the road network along the traffic corridor and the specific mechanisms used for traffic control including traffic signals, the model will be able to approximate observed vehicle and driver behaviour.


Referring to one of the many benefits of the proposal, Heather Hawkins, Principal Consultant at AECOM said:


“One of the main advantages of our proposal is that it is feasible to test multiple scenarios affordably, flexibly and efficiently now, compared to live, on-street implementation.  It also has immediate relevance as the technology is already supported in the latest vehicles and traffic signal controllers.  It can also be deployed on existing infrastructure in the short term, realising benefits such as improved journey quality and better network performance throughout the adoption period of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and more sophisticated CAV technologies”.


The competition rules stipulate that the five finalist projects must be completed within 3 months, and before 24 August 2018. After successful applicants have completed their projects, the best project will be awarded an additional, unconditional sum of £50,000.


Building on our portfolio of UK CAV projects, this is the second time AECOM has received funding for research into the testing and feasibility of CAV technologies. Our Capri pods on demand trials are due to take place in June and October this year.