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connected vehicles


Jonathan Spear
13 Apr 2017

This summit, hosted jointly by Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and WRA on April 6, saw presentations and contributions from Singapore, Austria, Australia, Sweden and several speakers from the USA. We are proud to have had two speakers at the summit: I set out the key international trends and challenges for CAVs from a public policy and regulatory perspective, as well as covering the implications for future highway and urban planning and design. Suzanne Murtha, senior project director from Atkins in North America, gave a focused US analysis. 

Out of the summit came some great viewpoints and plans across national boundaries, many specific and set within the local context. However, there was a remarkable degree of consensus and understanding of common issues. Here, in no particular order, are our top ten takeaways emerging across the countries represented.

  1. Widespread AV (Automated Vehicle) adoption as societal level is someway off, well into the 2020s or beyond, but preparation and planning for this prospect needs to start now, with governments leading, rather than avoiding or ignoring, the debate, especially as Connected Vehicles of varying types are currently being deployed;
  2. Governments and transport agencies need to identify and meet the substantial technical, regulatory and practical challenges in the short- and medium-term to reap the major economic, social and environmental benefits in the long-term, and strike a balance between immediate public safety, technology and innovation and private sector initiative;
  3. Much as manufacturers and developers may want a free hand, the speed of CAV development and adoption will be dictated as much by policies, laws and regulations set by government as it is by technology from industry. This includes setting proportionate, open or inter-operable technical standards and regulations which align across national boundaries and give confidence and incentive to industry to develop a range of commercial products and services;
  4. The pathways for connected infrastructure and autonomous vehicles are on different timelines, stakeholder relationships and delivery chains, with a “chicken and egg” problem for which comes first and how they interact.  If CVs are mandated, AVs will be a part of that, thereby forcing early integration of the two technology sets;
  5. The immediate focus now, and for the next few years, is on testing, demonstration, validation and deploying of CAV technology. This is vital to provide the safety case, volume of data and operating experience of vehicles and systems to assure regulators they are safe, resilient and viable for wider deployment and adoption;
  6. There is a major challenge of the transition period between manual driving by humans and fully automated vehicle operation at the societal level. Not only is the length and shape of this transition inherently uncertain, but there are major issues for how mixed traffic scenarios between manual vehicles and AVs will be managed safely and efficiently;
  7. Whilst it can be assumed that CAVs will use highway capacity more efficiently, safely and accurately, the point at which this may result in changes to physical highway design, layout and management principles, and what these changes might look like, are major areas for future research;
  8. The full benefits of CAVs in terms of reducing traffic volumes, congestion, emissions and accidents may only occur when the technology is combined with other concepts such as electrification and a shift in business model from private ownership to shared use of centrally managed fleets. The latter, in particular, will play out differently across countries and the presence, or otherwise, of a “driving culture” whereby vehicle ownership and manual operation is seen as a right rather than a utility;
  9. Governments, vehicle manufacturers, technology companies and academia will need to forge new partnerships to drive the CAV agenda forward, bringing different roles, skills sets, interests and activities together and forging active collaboration; and
  10. Ultimately, CAVs are more than a transport project. They will shape the long-term future of the spatial planning and urban form of cities and regions. Planners, architects, city managers and developers need to engage with the debate.  

One further point struck me from the discussions. CAVs are currently very much an agenda for advanced economies. Yet WRA includes member countries which are still developing in their stage of economic and social status. It is therefore important to consider new vehicle concepts, for example in Africa and Asia, which may improve road safety in particular from a more basic and appropriate technology perspective.

Rhode Island was a great forum for current thinking on the development and deployment of CAVs, a point acknowledged by RIDOT’s director in thanking “the greatest minds from across the world” for their contributions. The discussions will directly help RIDOT in developing its future CAV strategy and deployment plan, and linking this to wider spatial planning and economic development opportunities for the State.  

Furthermore, through WRA, the intention is to push the CAV agenda forward and drive further thought leadership at the World Road Congress in Abu Dhabi in 2019.

Jonathan Spear, director, strategic transport, Atkins Acuity, Singapore

Suzanne Murtha, senior project director, Atkins, Washington DC, North America

Note: Atkins is a corporate member of the World Road Association and nominates a number of technical experts to participate in Technical Committees on a four year cycle leading to a World Road Congress. Jonathan Spear is chair of a working group within Technical Committee A1 on the performance of transport administrations. The April 2017 TC meeting was hosted by RIDOT in the city of Providence and the CAV summit was conceived as an associate event bringing together TC members from several countries with local consultants and public agencies from the USA.  

To find out more about intelligent mobility from Atkins, visit our hub and join our LinkedIn group.

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Asia Pacific, North America,

Suzanne Murtha
30 Mar 2017

This NPRM is US DOT’s effort at solving the 20-year-old chicken and egg problem. Who deploys first? Why would the IOO (Infrastructure Owners and Operators) invest in infrastructure to support communications if no vehicles have it?

Now, the vehicles will have it.

The rule requires that, beginning two years after issuance of a final rule, DSRC would be phased in over the following three years, at rates of 50 percent, 75 percent and 100 percent, respectively. According to NHTSA estimates, with this requirement in place, around 2040 we’ll have DSRC installed in 90 percent of new vehicles. Independent analysis of the market penetration agrees with the NPRM analysis.

If that news weren’t exciting enough, we now see not only GM announcing DSRC-based equipment in the CTS (announced September 2014), but now also in the 2018 XTS and ATS. Insiders tell us that several other automotive manufacturers are close behind with DSRC announcements.

While the NPRM does a detailed analysis of potential back office management of connected vehicle systems, as well as a highly detailed explanation of privacy and security (the document is nearly 400 pages long), NHTSA’s purview is somewhat limited with regard to the aftermarket. NHTSA can only require DSRC on new vehicles and this opens an opportunity, too, for IOO to encourage aftermarket adoption of DSRC on existing vehicles at a local level as well as deploy supporting infrastructure at a pace that makes sense for them.

Enter the egg.

Infrastructure Owners and Operators
To support the deployment of DSRC-based equipment to improve safety and mobility, US DOT also invested in three major deployments in New York City, Wyoming and Tampa. Recent US DOT fact sheets about the deployments list over 500 DSRC roadside units being deployed to support nearly 10,000 DSRC On Board Units (OBU).

The V2I Deployment Coalition has recently issued the DSRC 20x20 SPaT Challenge. Infrastructure influencers AASHTO, ITS America and ITE have teamed up with US DOT’s FHWA to encourage—challenge—IOOs across the country to install DSRC-based equipment at 20 intersections by 2020. Many cities, regions and states are jumping on this opportunity. In addition to the hundreds of existing DSRC installations, dozens of other IOOs will be deploying DSRC in the coming months.

Now, the infrastructure will have it. 

The momentum behind the DSRC continues to be remarkable. There are nearly 70 comments in the proposed rule as of today, final comments are due April 12. As of today, the bulk of these comments are specifically related to concerns about radio frequency and health. While a few comments concern other types of radio communication, the bulk of the comments are supportive and many more supportive comments are expected in the coming days.

The automotive manufacturers (OEMs) have asked the new administration for rollback of several regulations including CAFE requirements and automated vehicle policy. However, the OEMs have not asked for consideration of the DSRC NPRM and have continued full steam ahead with work to further develop DSRC-based communications. I suspect we’ll be able to view the specifically supportive comments on the NHTSA docket in the coming weeks.

So What?

  • Respond to NHTSA! You have until April 12 to tell US DOT your agency’s thoughts about vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communications using DSRC.
  • As an IOO, the advent of DSRC means that you will have access to specific vehicle data, at an increasing rate beginning now.
  • If you would like to increase your access to this data, deploy DSRC equipment at a pace that makes sense for your agency.
  • As an IOO, you are not under a mandate to deploy anything.  Deploy at your pace, prioritizing locations that could enhance safety or need the most attention.
  • Incrementally learn how to manage CV data and deploy within the CVRIA (US DOT Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture).


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North America,

Lila Tachtsi
20 Mar 2017

Data is valuable, it’s the new currency. In many sectors, including transport, it becomes invaluable when it is gathered, analysed and transformed into operational and business intelligence. And now there is a great potential for doing so in real-time, offering even bigger opportunities for the travel experience. It’s how we use data that will inform and influence the design of our future cities.

We have released a white paper that considers how we can use insights from big data to influence strategic decision-making and user behaviour.

As well as adding extra network capacity and delivering a better customer experience, big data presents an incredible opportunity to influence people’s behaviour, offering travellers with smarter and more sustainable transport choices.

For example, in a world of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), we can gather data that will inform us about the condition of the transport network, traveller and vehicle behaviour, usage peaks and troughs, the design and operation of towns and cities, and social trends. The maximum value of collaborative CAVs will only be possible with shared ownership and better planned urban networks.

Atkins is currently expanding its use of big data to include mobile phone data, GPS data and a wide range of maintained data assets and connected sensors. This helps us to plan and design future services, quickly address any issues on the network, inform customers of disruptions, travel updates and much more. This is just the tip of what is possible.  We have a growing portfolio of big data insight projects based on more generic and well-maintained data sources, and built on data analytics platforms that can automate common analysis, which enables substantial productivity and quality improvements. 

Using big data insight, we will be able to encourage and incentivise users of the transport system to move closer to their workplace and popular facilities, as well as to more sustainable transport and urban environments. Contemporary planning will help ensure we have the right travel alternatives in the right place and at the right time, making these long term choices attractive.

So what do we need to do now?

  • We need to increase the ‘velocity’ of traditional data analytics from what might be several weeks to a matter of minutes, with big data enabling new forms of algorithms and models to be trained and applied on accelerated computer systems.
  • We need to find a way to ensure data can be shared seamlessly across systems and sectors so we can maximise the benefits of big data for society as a whole.
  • We need to show the general public the benefits that sharing data can have so public opinion can shift and we can better improve people’s lives and journeys through having access to the bigger picture.

By capturing data and applying scenario planning, we can chart our route towards a more connected, automated and data-driven future, and a better passenger experience for us all.

To read the full study click here. To find out more about intelligent mobility from Atkins, visit our hub and join our LinkedIn group.

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UK & Europe, Group, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, North America, Rest of World,

Lee Woodcock
07 Mar 2017

Reflecting on the past few months, it’s prompted me to think about Smart Cities, a phrase that’s not new, has promised so much and in my view, delivered so little. But, with a surge of new technology, digital disruption, entry of new market players and budget challenges for the public sector – could this be the catalyst for change?

With this in mind, coupled with new themes and trends emerging globally across the industry, I wanted to take a moment and make five Intelligent Mobility predictions for 2017…

Data Exploitation and Visualisation: This year we will see the emergence of new platforms, at pace. Data is arguably the life blood of a modern transport systems and critically important to unlocking value from new transport schemes, mobility solutions and customer tailored services. It will be through inter-operability, we see a drive towards ‘Platform as a Service’ across the sector which is here to critically disrupt the way we currently model, plan and deliver transport services globally in cities and urban areas.

Journey Management: We will witness the breakdown of silos across the transport system, with the deployment of critical technology solutions that cut across organisational and operational barriers. The surge of new payment systems will start to deliver seamless and positive customer journey experiences through account based ticketing systems. This will mean no more management of multiple Apps or cards – one account for the individual or family, think Sky-Go package.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: A huge amount of R&D is currently underway globally, it’s hard to keep up with the activity, announcements, new projects and demonstrations – which of course is great news for the sector and ultimately the consumer, but we have some way to go before cars are completely driverless. However, I’m confident this year we will see the first full scale deployment of a connected vehicle with the surrounding infrastructure, that links directly to the management of the network and supports the maintenance of the road asset.

Mobility as a Service: It’s the ultimate consumer proposition, enabling the movement from transport to mobility. However, the business model is yet to be proven on scale. There are some fantastic schemes I’m watching emerge and develop at the moment and will continue to build throughout 2017, mainly in Europe and in the Middle East. But, it will be in the UK this year I believe we will see a full scale operation of a Mobility as a Service scheme, citywide.

Cyber Security and resilience: Globally, the sector has a lot of work to do across Intelligent Mobility. Areas of development to keep an eye on will be the emergence of Blockchain, along with automotive manufacturers taking further steps to protect their vehicles and the associated data.

Irrespective of whether these predictions come true, we are in for a fast paced and disruptive 2017, with the world of Intelligent Mobility set to be totally unpredictable!

What do you think? Do you agree? Or have you got a different prediction for Intelligent Mobility? It would be great to find out what you think is a trend for 2017.

Join our Intelligent Mobility LinkedIn group with over 4,000 members today:

To find out more about intelligent mobility from Atkins, visit our hub

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Alex Roe
27 Feb 2017

Often it’s too easy to get carried away with new technologies and assume that people will use it because it’s novel. To ensure we are applying the right solutions, it is important we seek to understand the needs of the end-user and incorporate these into our design processes. It is only then, we can guarantee the technology will be used and is fit for purpose.

At Atkins, we are continuously considering new ways of travelling that will transform people's journeys and the movement of goods. This includes understanding where we can apply intelligent mobility solutions to bring about significant benefits to both the travelling public and transport providers.

Our involvement in the FLOURISH project is a great example of involving users in the development of the technology to gain a deeper understanding of what customers want. The way it works is through a continuous cycle of gaining insight, development, testing and then refining the technology. Our approach will ensure that provision of future Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) meets specific mobility needs and can improve quality of life by enabling older adults to be active contributors to the economy and society.

Fundamentally, Autonomous Vehicles are set to provide huge advantages to our society and predicted to make a significant difference to tackling the growing problems of congestion, accidents on the roads (accounting for nearly 1.3million deaths per year globally), our growing discontentment with the daily commuting experience and giving us all the chance for a bit more “me time”.

But aren’t there some fundamental challenges behind human behaviour we might be overlooking? Will people be willing to give up their cars which for many, gave them a sense of pride? Additionally, how much trust are we willing to put into technology?

Unpicking these challenges is key to increasing public confidence around the adoption of CAVs. Our involvement in the “VENTURER” project focuses on the users as well as the technology enabling CAVs. The project allows us to understand the blockers and drivers to wide scale adoption of CAV capability. For us, getting feedback from users and other stakeholders is invaluable and means that we are producing a product that will be fit for purpose. For example, gathering invaluable feedback from trial participants on their experiences of Autonomous Vehicles and applying these to our designs, helps us to better understand where improvements can be made.

We have already captured some useful feedback from our VENTURER project. These include, views on manual driving, the driver’s ability to regain control of the vehicle and when the AVs might be most useful in the case of longer journeys.

For me, this is just the start. Without the continued insight and involvement of users, it may be a tough challenge to encourage people on the journey to a fundamental change for us all.

It's also about being bold and doing something a little different. In the case of the Zume trial, we created an on demand commuter shuttle service to explore the feasibility of Mobility as a Service. The two week trial provided new transport partnering opportunities and there was a genuine level of interest from the public. Experiments such as these are useful and we need more opportunities like this to gain valuable insight from both the end users and other stakeholders.

There are often sceptics when it comes to the adoption of new technologies but through our continued efforts to engage end-users and place them at the centre of design, we can hope to influence the hearts and minds of the majority and help turn fantasy into a reality.

To find out more about intelligent mobility from Atkins, visit our hub

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UK & Europe,

Jim Hanson
17 Feb 2017

The first-of-a-kind event was held in conjunction with the CES Conference, an annual consumer electronics and technology tradeshow in Las Vegas. In the spirit of the summit theme, taken from an Elvis Presley song, “A Little Less Conversation,” we helped Nevada do more than talk about intelligent mobility, or iM—they illustrated with real-world examples of advancements in the iM space.

I’m often asked, “So, what is intelligent mobility?”

It may mean different things to different clients depending where they are in their iM journey. Events like the GO-NV Summit helped clarify some aspects of iM for attendees. The bigger goal of GO-NV was to take the conversation toward action to start deploying solutions. 

Our approach to iM is a global one—each of our regions is working with clients, technologists, developers and solutions providers to address the growing scope of iM needs world-wide. Our definition is simple: Intelligent mobility is an end-user and outcome-focused approach to connecting people, places and services—reimagining infrastructure across all transport modes, enabled by data, technology and innovative ideas. We describe our iM work in four areas: the power to transform lives; progress and change; catalyst for collaboration, and implementation at its heart.

The Power to Transform Lives
Clearly, iM has the potential to enable people who struggle with finding safe, convenient, affordable travel options across all modes of transportation. We’re working with state and local governments across the country, facilitating innovative visioning and roadmap development sessions to address the rapidly evolving needs around iM.

The GO-NV Summit brought to life the four principles of our iM approach. The industry executives who spoke at the event provided attendees with an understanding of what technology and transportation companies, and their partners, are doing to advance mobility, the best practices for building smart and connected communities, and what is still needed for connected and autonomous vehicles, or CAVs, to become a viable mode of transportation for the general public. The speakers focused on how mobility will be achieved, building things locally in Nevada, using drone technology, and using Nevada as a testbed for CAV and other technologies.

Automation will help those who don’t have access achieve greater mobility, enabling them to do much more if they choose to do so.

It will also improve the safety of our transportation systems, resulting in less accidents, injury and death, which has spurred a lot of interest and passion around the topic. Who wouldn’t want safer, less congested roadways and safer, more reliable, convenient public transportation systems? 

Progress and Change
It’s difficult to think of another area with the same level of enthusiasm and excitement as iM. The developments and deployments involving iM seem to be gaining momentum daily. The collaboration of engineering companies with software developers and other nontraditional partners has resulted in rapid transformation in terms of driverless vehicles, safety features, and have included all aspects of the journey, from tolling to intelligent roadways. 

Las Vegas’ Economic Development Group is positioning for this change as a way to grow and advance. As one of the U.S.’s most popular tourist destinations, it’s in Las Vegas’s best interest to assure visitors their trip will be hassle-free and safe. The developments around iM will do just that—they will make visitors much more mobile (more transportation options and end-to-end journey planning), less stressed (removing cars from roadways), and safer (CAVs, intelligent systems to manage traffic). 

Catalyst for Collaboration
We can best describe our role in iM as innovation facilitators. We excel at bringing a variety of stakeholders together around an issue, facilitating discussion, bringing solutions and solution providers forward, and turning ideas into actionable outcomes. It’s very much a team effort—our team of technologists and experts in the intelligent mobility field brings together developers, software engineers, government agencies and planners, among others, to develop and deploy workable iM solutions.

Intelligent mobility has created collaboration among data specialists, software developers, federal and state and local agencies, entrepreneurs, vehicle manufacturers, and technology and engineering companies like ours. Interoperability of systems, getting systems to “talk” to each other and work seamlessly, has mandated collaboration. Nevada Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s Freeway & Arterial System of Transportation, or FAST, is a perfect example of this—a truly integrated intelligent transportation system (ITS) organization, one of the first in the country. 

Implementation at Its Heart
Being able to develop solutions and implement them safely and seamlessly is our overall goal in iM. The City of Las Vegas and Clark County have implemented leave in place—not a demo or a pilot project, but early deployments that can be adjusted while deployed. Through collaboration, using techniques like visioning and ideation, we’re helping clients develop a roadmap for iM. Las Vegas took one step closer in January as NAVYA and Keolis, in partnership with the City of Las Vegas, launched the first autonomous electric shuttle ever to be deployed on a public roadway in the United States.

During this GO-NV Summit, we helped Las Vegas become one of the only locations in the world to host interoperable connected vehicles accessing the same roadside units (RSU). In the spirit of collaboration, several manufacturers shared access to RSUs to demonstrate CAV applications during CES. The Summit's speakers focused on the current projects making advanced mobility a reality today, including specific accomplishments and successful public-private partnerships.

Cleary iM momentum is building. Just one week later, we showcased our experience during an interview with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada for an investment study to explore combining various modes of transportation—innovation/tech. Opportunities exist in Colorado with CDOT’s RoadX program, the Miami-Dade County Metropolitan Planning Organization in Florida for its CAVs program, and others across the US.

As we see conversation become reality in the iM space, we also recognize that there is still much to be done—cybersecurity advancements, assessing and planning for energy needs, communications systems, and flawless logistics are all areas that are conversation topics with action most likely not far behind. 

To find out more about intelligent mobility from Atkins, visit our hub

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North America,

Jonathan Spear
26 Oct 2016


With populations and economies growing in cities across the World, and public expectations for journeys that are safer, quicker, more reliable, sustainable and resilient, urban transport networks needs to better connected and integrated than ever before. They also need to utilise finite funding, land and other resources prudently and combine consumers, operators service providers and regulators within a coherent and inter-linked “ecosystem.” With digital technology advancing, increasingly connected and populated by the Internet of Things and Big Data, there has never been a better time to deploy transport solutions that can deliver better outcomes with smaller resource outlay and footprint.

Many current urban transport challenges stem from the inefficiencies of over a century of mass adoption of the private car, whilst conventional public transport systems have frequently been unable to offer a competitive alternative in terms of journey time, flexibility to user needs, price and ability to pay. Exploiting recent innovation in technology systems and processes to respond to and overcome these limitations, Intelligent Mobility is rapidly developing as the seamless ‘future of transport.’ Applications in Mobility as a Service, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, interactive Journey Planning and electric powertrains are already delivering, or offer prospects for, enhanced and optimised operational performance, environmental impact, commercial feasibility and consumer acceptance. Moreover, much of the progress being made is driven not by governments, but by the private sector, which is itself subject to creative disruption, new business models and start-ups coming from nowhere to challenge market incumbents. Increasingly, it is self-evident that the mobility problems and risks facing 21st Century cities cannot be tackled with outdated 20th Century planning and regulation. Fresh thinking is required and new ideas need to be turned from theory to reality on the ground.

Nowhere is this truer than in Asia where cities such as Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo are developing, testing and adopting new best-in-class smart urban mobility approaches ahead of the global curve. Emerging urban economies in Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines are also seeking to gain traction in supporting basic urban transport infrastructure and services to serve young and growing populations in a cost-effective manner, and adopt leapfrog technology in tackling their acute operational, social and environmental challenges.


Atkins believes that Intelligent Mobility, and the computing power, communications and data which support it, will enable more informed, multi-modal, personalised and flexible decisions to be made by network owners, service operators and providers and travellers themselves. In time, this will drive influence operator and end user needs and support sustainable economic growth and competitive advantage through knowledge creation and exploitation. However, this will only happen if policy makers and regulators within the public sector are clear about the objectives to be achieved, act proportionately in balancing unconstrained innovation with protecting individuals and society and support the early market for key products before commercial viability, bankability,supply chain and mass adoption can be demonstrated.

For this reason, this week, Atkins has been hosting its first global Intelligent Mobility Week. This brings together key experts from Atkins, clients and influential stakeholders in the UK, Middle East, North America and Asia Pacific to coordinate a programme to raise profile and stimulate engagement across industry, government, partners and academia. The focus is on the ‘big question’ – what is Intelligent Mobility, how, and where, is it developing, who is driving it and what does it mean for the supply chain of planners, technology providers, transport operators and, of course, ultimately for end users?


Here in Singapore, the Government has invested heavily to expand urban rail, bus and taxi services to make it much easier to get from one place to another without the need to use a private car. In addition, whilst the urban road network has been progressively expanded, the capacity and accessibility benefits of this investment have been locked in through Travel Demand Management measures, such as Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) which helps ensure smooth-flowing traffic. With car ownership kept at noticeably lower rates than other international cities, transportation planning has been closely integrated with land use, and investment directed into promoting first and last mile connections by active travel and personal mobility devices such as e-scooters. A range of technology trials of Automated Vehicles are also under way, linked potentially to shared mobility models such as Uber and Grab.

The strategy is working; Singapore has enviable transport outcomes for some key metrics such as congestion delay, mode share, air quality and accessibility and consistently features highly in global rankings of urban mobility, economic growth and quality of life.

The Land Transport Authority acknowledges that in order for this approach to work, the public want more information to manage their travel decisions and have confidence in the multi-modal choices which are available. Since 2011 it has developed an “E-Place for All” through the MyTransport.SG portal and smart application to provide real-time travel information, such as bus arrivals, directions to train stations or bus stops, traffic news updates, car park availability, ERP prices and cycling routes. MyTransport.SG continues to continuously improve with the recent addition of information on public transport fares, bus and train crowding, “snap and send” functionality to report road defects, and information on how to get to local events and places of interest. Future plans will add car sharing and public cycle hire once these public-private partnership schemes commence over the next few years,The success of MyTransport.SG, now downloaded over 1 million times and a host of third-party travel applications, including Uber, Grab, Waze and, is assisted by the fact that Singaporeans love their mobiles. In per capita terms, the Country is the world’s largest smartphone market, with mobile devices now outstripping desk top computer use to access the Internet. Consumers across Asia are mirroring this trend, with many countries now over the 50% adoption rate for smartphones, leapfrogging the desktop-based Internet to create a new and exciting mobile web landscape for a wide range of services and opportunities. This is a major disruptor and wake up call to any transport agency or business without a mobile-enabled or ­optimised website or app, and a chance for new business models, service bundles and value propositions to come forward, experiment and take hold.


As the race for technical standards for the systems and processes behind Intelligent Mobility progresses, levels of innovation in hardware, software and user interface can be expected to converge at some point. Singapore may have an impressive lead, but Japan, China, California and some countries in Europe are not far behind. Others will inevitably follow in time, even in developing economies where the combination of unmanned drones and super-fast 5G networks could in the future provide urban and rural accessibility where roads are rudimentary, impassable or absent altogether.

However, whilst core technologies may align, policy and regulatory responses from governments, as well as consumer needs and levels of acceptance are more likely to remain localised and distinct. Atkins’ approach to Intelligent Mobility campaign provides a positive platform to have conversations around these points of difference, asking questions such as:

  • What is the current State of the Art in Intelligent Mobility and against key uncertainties and risks which approaches look most likely to gain traction and acceptance in different parts of the World?
  • What are the economic, social and environmental benefits of harnessing emerging technologies and how do these align with government objectives as well as the interests of operators, service providers and consumers?
  • How will Intelligent Mobility, including key concepts such as AVs, influence the design, operation and management of road infrastructure, and inform a more people-centred approach to urban planning, public realm and the making of places?
  • What are the barriers and practical issues for early adoption and mainstream deployment of key technologies and innovative practices, and how can these be over-come?
  • How can the boundaries of technology and operational performance be expanded at the same time as protecting public safety and security, protecting personal privacy and data rights, providing certainty to all over key regulatory tools, such as traffic laws and rules of the road?
  • How can Intelligent Mobility be successfully funded, governed and managed across the public and private sectors, who will be the key players in driving innovation forward, and how will the digital disruption of existing stakeholders and business models, and emergence of new players evolve?
  • What are the likely Intelligent Mobility applications (and distribution of benefits) for emerging as well advanced economies and how can leapfrog technology and knowledge transfer be promoted so these countries go from zero to high capability in a generation?
  • How does Intelligent Mobility integrate with other planning and technology concepts, including Future Proofing and Smart Cities and integrate across different service propositions?

Atkins’ Intelligent Mobility campaign provides us with a great opportunity to debate some of these seminal questions across disciplines, and propose some solutions to provide towards coherent, structured and systematic way forward

Jonathan Spear is a Director with Atkins Acuity, based in Singapore. He has over 22 years’ experience in transport policy, strategy and regulation across Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific. He is increasingly focused on the policy, regulatory and public acceptance aspects of new technology, and is currently leading Atkins Intelligent Mobility activities in South East Asia and China. 

To find out more about intelligent mobility from Atkins, visit our hub

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UK & Europe,

Melina Christina
21 Oct 2016

Often used as a buzz word, everyone talks about it but it seems there has been some confusion and lack of clarity on what this actually includes, and how, for example, this differs from the ITS sector or the ‘smart city’ concept. Definitions could be summarised as initiatives using technology to:

  • Improve current transport systems, by making them whether more efficient/less costly (e.g. electric vehicles, wireless induction charging) or more convenient (e.g. City Mapper, contactless payment, AutoPilot from Tesla); and
  • Provide new opportunities to move around, e.g. Uber, self-service bike-sharing scheme, Drive Now from BMW.

Considering those two angles, whether improving the existing or creating new mobility opportunities; one could argue what is new about this? For generations, engineers and scientists have been trying to do exactly the same - achieve those two goals, with a similar approach which is using ‘new’ technologies available at the time.  A simple example is the inventors of the internal-combustion engine whom we can’t deny they were doing ‘intelligent mobility’.

Some will disagree and say that Intelligent Mobility includes the focus on user needs and a real personalisation of the journey. Again, transport has always been on meeting user needs and putting the user at the centre of the journey somehow. What is more personalised than the private car? Current technology, especially based on the mobile phone, has generated opportunities for personalisation and indeed to a greater extent than anything possible before. It is this shift that creates a new framework and stimulates a change in behaviour that helps to make Intelligent Mobility a new trend.

Fundamentally, Intelligent Mobility is about innovating and thinking differently, based on the new opportunities technology brings us.

However, it is important to note that the concept of sharing resources, whether bicycles or cars, or partnering with a party from another discipline (e.g. Airbnb with Tesla) to create new solutions, or developing a new business model (e.g. MaaS) are firstly founded on human intelligent ideas and secondly, amplified by technology.

To learn more about Atkins' Intelligent Mobility solutions click here. Join the conversation here

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UK & Europe,

Rebecca Tommey
20 Oct 2016

First world investment in Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) continues at a staggering pace, with announcements made almost on a daily basis around new technology developments or deployment demonstrators. However, limited research has been undertaken to fully understand the impact of adopting CAVs in the developing world.

It is expected that Autonomous Vehicles will provide an array of benefits for the developing world - the most important benefit will be a significant reduction in the number of fatalities as a result of road accidents and air pollution. Research shows there are more than 700,000 road accident fatalities in Asia each year which represents approximately 60% of the entire world fatalities. AVs could significantly reduce the number of immature deaths by reducing the number of accidents on the road network and providing a healthier environment for the residents of these cities.

If Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) ran at an operator level where the user can hire/pay for services as they go, this could significantly increase the number of people who have access to a vehicle. According to the 2011 census in India, 90% of people in urban areas and 97% of people in rural areas do not have access to a vehicle. It is a well-known fact that the developing world cities suffer from grid locked roads which cost countries like Jakarta, an estimated US$2.8 billion. AVs have the potential to reduce these figures by operating more effectively which will relieve congestion on the network.

One of the largest challenges in the developing world is the public acceptance of CAVs. A recent report undertaken by Cisco (2013) which surveyed 10 countries, outlined that 60% of the respondents from the USA and 45% from the UK would travel in an AV compared to 95% in Brazil and 86% in India. This suggests that developing countries are more accepting of such technologies. This could be as a result of cultural reasons why the developing world appears to be more accepting of new technologies. The developing world encounters ‘fatalities’ on a regular basis, therefore making the public more accepting to proposed solutions.

Millions have been invested in the technology required for CAVs to operate in the developed world, however the infrastructure and networks in the developing world could be significantly different. As such, with auto manufacturers having a global reach, a benchmarking system will be required to ensure the technology meets the best practice of all road types in all road areas. This benchmarking system will need to be developed based on knowledge and experience of the networks and infrastructure in the developing world. It is important these countries act now to ensure they secure the funding and have the procedures in place to support and deliver VAV solutions on their road networks. This includes considering infrastructure implications, the insurance models and the required legislation needed to make this a reality.

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UK & Europe,

Suzanne Murtha
02 Oct 2015

I frequently read articles and heated commentary in the media related to connected and autonomous vehicles, but it’s not always clear that these are two distinct technologies. The terms are often used incorrectly, which creates misconceptions about one or the other—and this confusion can actually stall progress when implications are incorrectly applied where they do not belong.

So what’s the difference? Which one helps me get home faster by avoiding traffic congestion and which one helps me avoid auto-collisions?

Connected Vehicles (CVs)

Simply stated, connected vehicle technologies allow vehicles to communicate with each other and the world around them. Your vehicle is likely already more connected than you realize. Navigation systems already include connected vehicle functionality, such as dynamic route guidance. Your GPS-based system receives information on congestion in the road ahead through cellular signals (4G LTE or 3G) and suggests an alternative route.

The connected vehicle concept is about supplying useful information to a driver or a vehicle to help the driver make safer or more informed decisions. Use of a “connected vehicle” doesn’t imply that the vehicle is making any choices for the driver. Rather, it supplies information to the driver, including potentially dangerous situations to avoid.

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has been working on a CV program that communicates within a radio spectrum specifically allocated by the Federal Communications Commission in 1999 for this purpose. And by the end of this year, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration will propose a rule mandating inclusion of 5.9 GHz-based equipment in all new vehicles to make them CV-ready. This technology has the potential to eliminate 80 percent of unimpaired crash scenarios that could save tens of thousands of lives each year.

Without compromising personal information, this technology will also enable transportation agencies to access vehicle data related to speed, location and trajectory—enabling better management of traffic flow as the ability to address specific problems in real-time. So in addition to sending information to the driver, CVs will send information to transportation agencies to enhance their knowledge of real-time road conditions, as well as generate historic data that will help agencies better plan and allocate future resources (which are typically stretched far too thin). By deploying roadside equipment, which reads and sends signals to and from these vehicles, transportation agencies can fully participate in the nationwide deployment of the connected vehicle system.

Autonomous Vehicles (AVs)

Some vehicles are already being deployed with autonomous functionality, such as self-parking or auto-collision avoidance features. But, until a vehicle can drive itself independently, it is not a true autonomous vehicle (AV). A fully autonomous vehicle does not require a human driver—rather, they are computer-driven. Most manufacturers will phase in various levels of autonomy until fully autonomous vehicles are widely tested and accepted by the general public.

Unlike connected vehicles, transportation agencies have little control over the deployment of these autonomous vehicles or the technology they use—this is controlled by the private sector companies who are building them, and responding to market forces. However, there are some actions agencies can do now to help encourage deployment of autonomous vehicles. For example, some agencies are already working to improve road striping and signage that will aid autonomous vehicles’ recognition of the road. Agencies can also encourage and support policies that will further AV deployment, such as certification policies, licensing rules, and following distance standards.

Autonomous vehicles do not need connected vehicle technology to function since they must be able to independently navigate the road network. However, CV technologies provide valuable information about the road ahead—allowing rerouting based on new information such as a lane closures or obstacles on the road. By incorporating CV technology, AVs will be safer, faster, and more efficient.

Furthermore, virtually all autonomous vehicles will require some form of connectivity to ensure software and data sets are current. As autonomous vehicles rely on knowing the roadway they are traveling on, changes to the roadside such as new development or construction will require the type of real-time exchange of information that CV technology provides.

While a complex task, transportation agencies need to be ready to support both connected and autonomous vehicles. By making the best use of technology, setting specific time frames for deployments, and addressing specific regional/geographic needs, we’re working to help our clients bring both connected and autonomous vehicles to the road.

The North America CAV report is available to access here (PDF).

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North America,

Roger Cruickshank
01 Oct 2015

When Masdar took on the idea of driverless pods for its zero carbon city in Abu Dhabi, it still seemed closer to the cartoon world of The Jetsons than something that would be hitting our streets anytime soon.

Technology moves at an incredible pace, however, and it is rapidly catching up to make the idea of driverless vehicles a reality. Major automotive manufacturers are now investing serious money to keep at the head of the herd (or at least to be in the race!), while tech giant Google and taxi-hailing app Uber are blazing their own trails.

The Middle East, where gas-guzzling 4x4s are still the vehicle of choice among many, seems unlikely territory for what we now call Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) to take off. There are, however, some compelling reasons to suggest the region could be among the early adopters.

First among these is the fact that some environments are particularly well suited to CAVs. Yes, eventually we’re going to see driverless vehicles on our public roads and highways but in the meantime, one of the most practical applications for them could be in and around major airports.

The traffic within airports is closely monitored, regulated and predictable. What’s more, there’s a surprising amount of it; just think of all the servicing needs for fuel, maintenance, catering, baggage, staff and so on – this is an ideal environment for CAVs. Inside terminals too, they could be applied for basic small-scale transportation needs.

The UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are all home to, or in the process of developing, among the largest and most advanced airports in the world. It’s not difficult, therefore, to see why the Middle East could be at the forefront of investing in CAV technologies.

The region’s property developers are also sure to see the value of CAVs for the typical semi-closed and controlled private developments which are prevalent. The CAV concept offers an attractive, futuristic selling point, but more importantly it has the potential to reduce traffic impact to provide a better, cleaner and safer living environment. It may also allow infrastructure (and associated cost) to be reduced in size, so the benefits are impressive.

I’ve just mentioned the value of improved safety that driverless vehicles offer, and longer term this is likely to be a key reason for bringing CAVs onto public roads in the region. Human error is commonly cited to be responsible for between 80-90% of road accidents. What easier way, then, to slash the number of crashes than by simply taking humans out of the equation?

This would go hand in hand with the ambitions of regional governments to be at the forefront of creating smarter, more resilient and sustainable cities of the future. Integration of state-of-the-art driverless vehicles is part of this vision and will happen.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has already commissioned studies into not only CAVs, but electric vehicles as well, as part of its wider smart city agenda. Expo 2020 could be an ideal platform for sharing ideas and inspiration with the rest of the world – let’s not forget that Dubai is already a leader in adopting driverless technology thanks to its metro, which was designed to be driverless from the outset.

The region will, of course, face many of the same barriers and challenges to CAV deployment as others. Governments will need to review and adapt public policies and regulations, change traffic laws and set clear technical standards. Of key importance will be the need to bring different stakeholders together to work collaboratively towards the same goals.

So while embracing CAVs in the Middle East is not without its challenges – including the need to encourage people to park up their beloved V8s – I wouldn’t bet against cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha or Riyadh being among the first to take the technology mainstream. And in the meantime, Masdar’s early foray into driverless pods looks to have been impressively prescient.

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Middle East & Africa,

Suzanne Murtha
30 Sep 2015

There are a variety of ways connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV’s) are currently being tested to advance their widespread progression to our roads. There are many parties involved—all playing a role in the process. The following testing methods are helping to ensure this technology will be highly functional in large-scale deployment environments.

Pilot Deployment Testing

Pilot programs provide the opportunity to test in less-than-ideal situations and real-world testing is key to understanding how to improve functionality. Testing is not always about working within a clean, ideal environment—most need to involve challenging environments that must be conquered.

On September 14, the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) announced its awards for connected vehicle pilot deployment programs will go to New York City, NY; Tampa, FL; and WY. These cities and regions will receive up to $42 million to pilot next-gen technology in infrastructure and connected vehicles. The US DOT is also planning to support deployments in other cities and regions throughout the country, which will lead to even more successful larger-scale deployments. We’ll be able to see how connected and autonomous vehicles function and interact in a multi-modal environment at many different speeds, surrounded by pedestrians, bicyclists and non-connected vehicles.

Closed Track Testing

On the other hand, closed track testing is valuable for testing in an ideal, clean environment. Simultaneous to pilot testing, many organizations are developing closed track testing facilities. Repurposed airports, military bases, and even greenfield facilities across the country are being developed into facilities for closed track testing in places like New Jersey, Texas, Florida, California, and Michigan. These facilities are especially important to understand how to improve automated (or driverless) vehicles. For example, poorly striped and signed roads are a particular challenge for driverless cars. Closed tracks in various regions provide testing across different climates and weather environments. Some tracks are even capable of simulating their own varied weather situations.

Most importantly, the closed track environment allows near real-world testing for safety-critical applications without risking impact to other road users. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is currently developing testing standards which will help unify the various testing efforts, creating a common baseline of quality and safety.

Certification Testing

Certification testing measures and evaluates a particular aspect of a system’s performance using standardized metrics. A certification program may include one or several aspects of performance. For example, interoperability certification is currently specific to dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) testing. In the future, WiFi® and Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) testing may also be included in interoperability certification.

While all three are unique, these testing mechanisms have at least one thing in common—they all require input and cooperation of many involved parties. Pilot deployment testing involves input from dozens of stakeholders. Closed track testing involves engagement with users and standards developers. And certification testing involves engagement with equipment users, manufacturers, and test labs. This makes cooperation and collaborative partnerships perhaps the most critical component of improving and successfully deploying connected and autonomous vehicles.

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North America,

John McCarthy
17 Jul 2015

..for connected and autonomous vehicles. It’s been a busy time since Atkins was announced as the lead partner for Venturer; the Innovate UK funded autonomous vehicle consortium based in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. As I put the finishing touches to the whitepaper ‘Roads of the Future’ it is worthwhile reflecting on the growing interest in this emerging market.

People are really interested in connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). The elderly, vulnerable, taxis, buses, freight, hire cars, insurance, communications, police, you and I, will all be influenced by the introduction of CAVs. Whether that is to share information between cars about incidents along routes or bad weather warnings, or to click a button and a car will drive you to your local bingo as you read the paper; the future is now and that is why people find it so fascinating.

I was recently invited to share my thoughts at Bristol’s Venturefest festival, and the following day invited into the Transport Systems Catapult’s ImagineFest festival to discuss what CAVs means from a policy and strategy perspective. Venturer aims to establish an independent urban test facility for the testing of elements associated with the deployment of CAV. This includes understanding peoples’ perception, not just technology or data; and exploring what people will get from CAVs, why will they want to use it, what must they accept and what will they not change. People drive change and it is vital that those in the CAV space fully understand this and reach out to test areas like Venturer to really grasp what it means for the future of their businesses.

Though an electrical engineer by qualification, I’ve been delighted to present at a number of Institute of Civil Engineer (ICE) meetings. It’s been really interesting hearing what people think and feel about connected and autonomous capability. The feedback has been amazing and lots of people are very keen to know when it will all happen and how it will link pieces of the transportation puzzle together. I also presented at the SMMT forum a little while back, and if you’re really interested, check out the video (best bits at 3:02 and 6:05)

I am also thrilled to be taking part in a BBC based STEM initiative later this month in Bristol. It is vital that people are encouraged to think about how the application of maths and engineering can enable world changing initiatives. The skills of this new world are yet to be defined, but encouraging the next generation to imagine a world where they are the designers, the creators, the developers of approaches and technology to a CAV based world is critical.

On the regulatory and policy front I’ve been delighted to share my thoughts on the new Code of Practice that the Department for Transport will publish. The approach is to position Britain at the forefront of CAV testing by providing a non-restrictive but sensible approach to testing. This will lead to significant job growth and IP creation.

It’s been a very busy time as the market responds to the challenges and opportunities that CAV provides and looks to leaders such as Atkins to provide thought leadership and direction. America, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Sweden are all looking to become the world’s testing ground for CAVs. Britain cannot afford to be content with what it has done to date. It must continue to invest and grow the test capability for connected and autonomous vehicles. The future is now, we must reach out and grasp the opportunities that it creates!

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UK & Europe,

Jill Hayden
18 May 2015

Automated Vehicles (AV), or self-driving cars, have been all over the news recently. Venturer, for example, looks to examine people’s behaviours and technology implications for autonomous vehicles through the creation of a test site in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire region. Connected Vehicles (CV) are also being deployed and tested across the world. It’s important to understand what they both mean, and why we want/need them.

Imagine a car, not unlike your own, that can talk to other cars around it and hear about the road and conditions for the journey you are intending to go on and suggest options to you. You are driving all the time, but the CV car is now talking to you and to other cars, but not offering to do the driving for you, not yet. Now an automated vehicle is the other type of car, like an older brother of CV where it will do all of the talking but can also do the driving for you. Imagine a car that can drive itself, allow you to read your paper, work on your email, and alerts you when it needs your attention – that is AV.

If you think about it, our vehicles are already more connected than you might realise. Sat navs already include connected vehicle functionality, such as dynamic route guidance; your sat nav receives information of congestion ahead via mobile phone signal, and suggests an alternative route. TomTom, Garmin and other companies currently subscribe to data feeds provided by Highways England which give details of incidents, including the cause and likely clear-up time, which they pass onto you.

‘eCall’ (emergency call) is a CV capability that is currently being provided by several vehicle manufacturers, and which the EU plans to make a legal requirement in all new vehicles. When a car is involved in an accident, it will detect what has happened (the airbags have deployed, say) and set up an automatic voice call to a control centre. At the same time it will use GPS to send precise location details, so the emergency responders can set off faster and have more details of the situation.

Even AV is already with us to some extent; adaptive cruise control can maintain a set speed and slow down / speed up in response to the vehicle in front, meaning you might not need to touch your accelerator pedal at all on the motorway. And lane keeping systems mean you don’t need to steer. The difference is that at the moment, you are officially in control of the vehicle (Level 2 automation on the SAE scale – PDF) whereas with true AV in future, the car will be fully in control (Level 5).

So what next for CV in the shorter term? Vehicles nowadays have a huge amount of information which could be really useful for highway operators. e.g. vehicles switch on wipers when it’s raining, switch on fog lights when foggy, sense reduced skid resistance in icy conditions and has external temperature detectors. Even floods, potholes, road debris can be identified by analysing the data trails from the vehicles. All this information could help with gritting, setting variable message signs, sending out patrols, etc. if taken from the vehicle’s CAN bus and communicated to control centres.

Another opportunity for CV is the sharing of traffic signal information with CV/AV. Green Light Optimisation, as demonstrated recently in Newcastle, where emergency vehicles and priority buses can request a green signal, or the creation of virtual green waves as and when appropriate, are becoming increasingly possible.

However, for the uptake and management of CV and AV capability, it will be necessary to make sure that the communications network is capable enough to ensure its success. This means ensuring that the infrastructure backbone can ensure safe, reliable, robust ways of sharing information between all parts of the network. This will require strategic investment and understanding of both the technical and behavioural issues around AV and CV, as well as the long term maturity of the different technology mixes currently available. Venturer’s test environment will ensure that these and other questions associated with AV deployment are addressed in a safe and thorough way.

Finally, it is worth stating the potentially huge benefits that can be provided by CV / AV:

Safety – Most accidents involve driver error and we know that machines could drive more reliably than humans. By greatly reducing the opportunity for human error, AV technologies have the potential to significantly reduce the number of crashes.

Reduced congestion – Through connected and automated services vehicles could drive closer together, which would increase roadway capacity without impeding safety since machines can keep minimum distances and still drive safely when compared with a human driver. We cannot keep building roads and adding lanes to meet demand, so CV/AV will be the vital next big step for increasing capacity.

Improved emissions – Vehicle platooning reduces air resistance for following vehicles, and traffic signal information could lead to more optimised speeds, two examples of ways in which emissions can be reduced.

Time – If drivers aren’t driving they can be working or reading or watching television!

Equity – Anyone can use a self-driving car! Disabled, younger or older people would all have increased mobility, surely one of the greatest potential benefits of CV/AV. Of course this could greatly increase demand, and completely change the way we use cars (renting road space instead of owning a car).

Improved road design – The improved safety could remove the need for crash barriers, which when combined with the replacement of signs with in-vehicle information could lead to our roads becoming less cluttered and more attractive!

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Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, North America, Rest of World, UK & Europe,

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