A new body, the Project Beyond Consortium, has been established to examine issues surrounding transport and mobility outside cities in the UK.
Research and innovation within the transport sector has predominantly focused on urban concerns and smart city initiatives; however, only 29.6% of English and Welsh residents live in cities and large towns, while more than 65% of the distance covered by on-road vehicles takes place in non-urban areas. The Project Beyond Consortium, a not-for-profit organisation, aims to redress the balance by focusing collaborative research and innovation efforts on less densely populated regions.
Mark Selby, Director of the Project Beyond Consortium, said “The geographic areas addressed by Project Beyond face complex technical and commercial challenges for infrastructure and operations. We believe multi-sector collaborations focusing on the movement of people and goods will have a positive impact on productivity.”
The founding members of the Project Beyond Consortium are:
- Bus building firm Alexander Dennis Ltd;
- Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), a cross-sector partnership aimed at supporting economic growth around the M3 motorway;
- Public transport operator The Go-Ahead Group;
- Hampshire County Council;
- Public transport provider Stagecoach Group;
- Safety firm Underwriters Laboratories (UL); and
- The University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre.
Professor Rahim Tafazolli, founder and Director of the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre, said: “5G represents a fundamental transformation of the role mobile technology plays in the economy and society, enabling and delivering rich new services in transport and mobility to improve productivity. The 5G Innovation Centre is proud to be playing a leading part in supporting the DCMS [Department for Culture, Media and Sport] UK 5G testbeds and trials programme and welcomes the opportunity to work with the Project Beyond Consortium members.”
The Go-Ahead Group’s Chief Technology Officer Craig Ellis said: “The Go-Ahead Group is pleased to be a founding member of the Project Beyond Consortium, and the exciting and innovative opportunities that the consortium seeks to unlock. We look forward to working alongside our partners, and developing innovative transport thinking to the challenges we face.”