Government Minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton caught a glimpse of tomorrow’s world on when she visited Aylesbury to see a showcase of new technologies that could revolutionise the way that we get around.
Buckinghamshire County Council unveiled its technology plans at the event in Friar’s Square, demonstrating prototypes to residents and invited guests, including Transport Minister Baroness Vere.
The plans are all part of the ADEPT Smart Places Live Labs scheme, to develop and test innovative ‘smart’ technology that will ultimately help improve the quality of life and travel and help create new ways of generating energy, while saving money in the long run.
Smart sensors, electric bikes and energy-generating road surfaces are just some examples of developments in the pipeline.
The area identified as an ideal test bed for these innovations is Fairford Leys in Aylesbury, a self-contained community of 1,900 homes. If successful, the new technologies could be rolled out into other areas set to be developed under Aylesbury Garden Town’s plans, and used in developments nationally.
Trials will include testing on:
- Roadside sensors to collect data about traffic movements and weather conditions and help guide self-driving cars;
- ‘Smart’ lamp-posts made from a composite material, which last longer, are cheaper to make and could even support solar panels and wind turbines;
- Road surfacing that generates energy from moving vehicles.
The £4.5 million funding for the project has come from innovation grant funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) via the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT). Buckinghamshire is one of only eight councils in the country to have won this funding.
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “Technology will revolutionise the way we travel, and it was fantastic to see some of the innovative solutions on offer in Buckinghamshire.
“We’re committed to supporting communities to thrive in this area, which is why we boosted Buckinghamshire County Council with over £4m to develop projects which will pave the way for a greener, safer and more reliable transport network.”
Mark Shaw, Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member, said: “The Minister’s visit signals how important it is for local authorities to lead the way in trialling new technologies, as we are with the Live Labs project.
‘I’m confident the outcomes will make a big difference to the way we plan transport provision in Buckinghamshire, with sustainability at the forefront of our thinking.
Residents and Baroness Vere were able to see prototypes of roadside sensors, wind turbines, solar panels and lighting columns. The Minister also had the opportunity to tour Fairford Leys and visit the Westcott Venture Park enterprise zone.
Baroness Vere, with Mark Shaw and Andrew Jackson, of Cycle Fleet, and an electric bike, which was on display at the event.