Two innovative projects that aim to improve air quality on major UK roads from Amey Consulting have received the support of Highways England. Funding was granted for both projects as part of a £20 million competition from Highways England seeking to unlock ideas that will revolutionise roads and driving. Amey Consulting competed with over 200 applications to secure funding for the scheme.
The first project, ‘Dynamic air quality management’ aims to improve air quality by dynamically changing the speed limit on smart motorways. As part of the project, speed limits can be introduced when poor air quality is predicted, as opposed to pre-defined time periods, allowing motorways to run at the national speed limit for longer. Predictions will be gathered from a dense network of real-time air quality sensors, which will be installed in local communities to monitor for harmful pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
The second project, ‘Green Light Optimised Speed Advisory’ was also granted funding and will improve air quality by reducing the number of stop-starts when vehicles leave motorways via inclined off-slips at signalised junctions. Stop-starts of freight vehicles, including hill starts, significantly increase fuel consumption, brake wear and emissions. This project will employ a technique known as Green Light Optimised Speed Advisory (GLOSA), which informs drivers when traffic lights will change, recommending a speed to approach the signals without needing to stop.
Mike Wilson, Highways England’s Executive Director for Safety, Engineering and Standards, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this funding to support ideas around connected vehicles and infrastructure, improved safety, design and construction that reduces cost and delivers more predictable journey times – and to improve air quality.
“The competitions opened the door for companies to submit some great entries to us – it was challenging to narrow it down to the final few. We think the competitions have been a great success, which we will consider repeating in the future.”