“THE ISSUE” (Traffic Health Environment Intelligent Solutions Sustaining Urban Economies) is a new EU-funded project that aims to deliver green traffic management systems in European cities and towns. The implementation of this project brings together research clusters from five european regions, including the East Midlands (UK), the Molise region (Italy), the Midi-Pyrenees and Aquitane regions (France) and the Mazovia region (Poland). The project is part of FP7, the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union, and of the “Regions of Knowledge” Theme of this programme. The project has just kicked off, and received a 2.7 million euro boost! The project partners will support scientists, engineers and development agencies from the different regions involved in the project to work together and develop more effective methods of easing traffic congestion and improving the urban environment in general.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) play a central part in the project, as this sort of technology is heavily involved in traffic management systems, both to transport infrastructure as well as to the vehicles themselves in order to improve life on the roads for everyone. The improvement takes place in terms of safety, reliability and productivity. Additionally, traffic management systems also take environmental needs incrasingly into account. The ultimate aim of the project is to influence future policy on traffic management, so that traffic management systems benefiting public health and safety are widely implemented. Some of the main trouble areas in traffic management are: how transport impacts on urban mobility, how green a transport system is, and of course, the health, safety and security of the people using the transport system.
In order to address these important traffic management issues, THE ISSUE project will use a range of diverse technologies and research applications. For example, it will integrate computer intelligence solutions and real-time satellite navigation data into existing operational urban traffic management systems. Or, space and in situ measurements will be used to help mitigate the risk to citizens’ health from traffic-induced air pollution. The project will also conduct a technology demonstration and pre-operational real-time trials of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered car operating in a city environment.
THE ISSUE is headed by researchers from the University of Leicester (East Midlands) and Leicester City Council. Representatives from these two organisations made some statements about the project:
Councillor Rory Palmer from Leicester City Council spoke about the project: ‘Making Leicester a low carbon city is one of our main priorities and this kind of research will be essential to helping tackle issues around congestion and air quality in the future. I am proud that the city council can help make this work possible.’
Project leader Professor Alan Wells from the University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre said: ‘With the EU funding we have secured, we can now coordinate different research activities in the same general areas of traffic and the environment that are being carried out by partners from across Europe. These sort of outcomes have never been brought together in this way before.’
The main objective of the ‘Regions of Knowledge’ Theme of the FP7 is to promote knowledge exchange and cooperation between European regions so as to stimulate economic growth and job creation. THE ISSUE project aims to create vibrant partnerships between different regional research clusters to bring together and coordinate existing and forthcoming research and technological development (RTD) programmes relevant to traffic, health and the environment.
The idea is that by holding consultations, participating regional and local authorities can identify economic priorities specific to certain regions, and ensure that their research priorities are in line with their traffic, health and environment policies.
‘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,’ says Professor 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 original article can be found here.