Cookie Notice

We use cookies to make parts of our website work, and to improve your visitor experience.
If you only allow necessary cookies, some features of our website may not work.


Intelligent Transport, Intelligent Society

In this report we outline how Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) could help improve the safety of our transport networks, cut congestion and reduce the environmental impact of travelling.

Transport communication methods

Intelligent Transport Systems use information and communication technology to improve people’s travel experience. Some Intelligent Transport Systems, such as satellite navigation, are already widely deployed. However, new and emerging technologies and systems currently being tested could help our transport networks become more integrated and efficient, helping save industry time, space and resource.

The safety case

Safety is the first priority for every commuter and transport provider. This report examines safety tools, such as Lateral Safe which alerts drivers to obstacles and potential collisions at the side and rear of their vehicle. Intelligent Transport Systems have the potential to improve safety for cyclists. In 2013, 109 cyclists were killed and 19,300 injured on Britain's roads. Lateral Safe could help cut the number of accidents caused by heavy goods vehicles' and lorries' blind spots.

The economic case

The UK is the seventh wealthiest nation in the world, the eighth most densely populated and fifth most congested. For the UK to remain a competitive economy, our mobility in terms of people, goods and what we consume must become intelligent by encouraging efficient, quick and economical movement through our transport selection, whether it is by road, rail, air or sea. It is estimated that the global market for Intelligent Transport Systems will grow to £40 billion by 2020, offering the UK a major new market, inward investment and employment potential.

The environmental case
The UK Climate Change Act (introduced in 2008) sets a number of challenging and legally binding targets. These include a long-term target of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. Intelligent Transport Systems have the ability to cut CO2 emissions by reducing congestion through smarter traffic management tools.

The need for an integrated vision
Within the UK there is currently a lack of cohesion, with many individual groups and companies trying to address transport problems in isolation, which is hampering progress. Government, industry and academia must work together to seize the opportunity presented by ITS and to help bring investment and jobs to the UK at a time when they are needed most.

Key recommendations

A detailed vision for the ITS industry needs to be agreed. This should be led by the government in close collaboration with industry. With an agreed vision, we recommend that:

  1. The newly formed Catapult for Transport Systems works with industry to develop an agreed unified vision for ITS across the UK’s entire transport network within three years, focusing on increased capacity, congestion reduction, improved efficiency in movement, improved safety and reduction in environmental impact.
  2. Industry and the government collaborate to make the installation of collision avoidance technologies, such as Lateral Safe, on buses, lorries, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and large goods vehicles (LGVs) mandatory by 2015, in order to improve UK road safety.
  3. The government introduces a nationwide co-ordinated charging and information system for all public transport within the next five years. This should be easy to use and provide cost benefits for individuals who use more efficient types of transport.
  4. Industry and the government collaborate to enforce the installation of automated emergency response technologies like eCall in all new surface transport within the next two years.

Related links

Read the press release: Lorries need to be fitted with technology to prevent blind-spot deaths, say engineers


All reports and policies

Browse all our reports, policy statements, consultation responses and presidential addresses

View all

Have a question?

Contact our press team.