An extensive public transport system using the UK’s motorway network could be on the cards as part of a major new feasibility study funded by Highways England and supported by innovative vehicle manufacturer Arrival.
The Connected Places Catapult’s (CPC) ‘Motorway Mobility’ project reimagines the motorway network and sets out a vision for a whole new mode of high capacity, demand responsive public transport.
This new transport system would utilise self-driving, electric vehicles operating from intelligent roadside stations.
The vision would see existing motorway infrastructure, autonomous vehicles and new transport hubs located close to motorways, working together to provide new or more frequent services between a wide variety of locations across the country.
This could reduce the cost of providing public transport for operators and provide a means to reduce private car use and congestion.
Neil Fulton, chief operating officer at the Connected Places Catapult, said, “The Motorway Mobility concept can be imagined as a new rail network, for which our existing motorways are the rails and automated vehicles are the self-driving carriages. It enables the whole of the motorway network to be reimagined as a public transport network.
This feasibility study will explore how frequent and convenient services of this type throughout the day and night could enable users to switch from the private car to public transport. This will give people back some of their free time that was spent driving, during which they could catch up on work or simply relax. This will also lead to reduced congestion, improved safety, reduced public transport journey times and will create new business opportunities.”