Solihull Council has successfully bid for £300,000, which will be used to assess the future viability of an autonomous transport link between Blythe Valley Business Park, near Shirley, and the new HS2 rail station in Solihull.
The feasibility of the study will consider the technology needed for safe and autonomous public transport.
The council will lead the project, in collaboration with National Highways, Transport for West Midlands and WMG, Warwick University, as well as automated technology specialists ZF, Aurrigo, Syselek and CiTTi Awards 2023 finalist Liftango.
The route would operate on existing roads, along the M42 from Junction 4 and use a junction currently under construction.
The local authority is also delivering a project linking East Birmingham to North Solihull utilising automated transport systems and planning to trial an automated transport system linking the NEC with Birmingham Business Park.
Cllr Ken Hawkins, cabinet member for environment and infrastructure, Solihull Council, said: “Connected Automated Vehicle (CAV) technology has the potential revolutionise the way we get around our towns, cities and rural areas.
“…We’ve already carried out a series of successful pathfinder trials here in Solihull, using our own automated shuttle, and have led the way in showing how it is possible to practically and safely incorporate automated vehicles into our existing transport infrastructure.
“We are now taking the next step and undertaking the vital feasibility work necessary in order to start thinking about more ambitious deployments and establishing new commercial public transport services.”
Funding will come from the Centre for Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), which forms part of the UK government’s Department for Transport and contributes to a national programme researching opportunities for autonomous transport systems.
Liftango is a finalist for the second annual CiTTi Awards in The Public Transport Award and The Shared Mobility categories. The ceremony will be on 21 November 2023 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London. Visit www.cittiawards.co.uk to learn more about this unmissable event for the UK’s transportation sector – and to book your table today!