Cyber security, virtual reality and machine learning will drive the future of transport

Professor Nick Reed, TRL Academy Director
Professor Nick Reed, TRL Academy Director

Cyber security, virtual reality and machine learning are at the centre of a series of ground-breaking research projects being delivered over the coming year by experts from TRL (the Transport Research Laboratory) – the global centre for innovation in transport and mobility.

The critical topics have been identified as key areas that will inform and evolve the ever-changing global transport landscape, with further projects developing the research around areas such as truck platooning, data science, mental health, smart infrastructure, head injuries and driving simulation.

Funding for the projects is one part of the annual investment made by TRL in innovative research and development and is supported by parent company, the Transport Research Foundation, a non-profit distributing organisation. The programme of ten innovative projects was devised by the TRL Academy in response to the challenges facing future transport and further supports TRL’s independence and impartiality.

Professor Nick Reed, TRL Academy Director, comments: “It is an absolute honour to be part of a process which helps to drive the future of transport. Choosing the projects that will go on to shape policy, design and technological development is always a challenge but we apply key criteria around ensuring the research is relevant, disruptive and deliverable. More than that, it is about providing the TRL team with the opportunity to follow their ideas – no matter how left field – in a structured and strategic way.

“I continue to be impressed by the ingenuity and vision of my colleagues as they advance projects beyond the theoretical and deliver practical, evidence-based knowledge which can be applied to solve complex transport challenges. With an overall goal to produce a transport system that is safe, clean, affordable, accessible and efficient, it is a real privilege to be at the forefront of such innovative research.”

An overview of the TRL Academy’s reinvestment projects in 2015/16, as well as a glimpse of what is to come in 2016/17, has been released in the TRL Quarterly Research Review (July to September 2016). Summarising the brief for each of this year’s research topics, the document outlines the key research aims and intended applications for each project. The review offers a rare glimpse into some of TRL’s more secretive research in delivering the future of transport.

The report also details the practical outcomes and next steps from six key projects from the previous 12 months, including a smart asset management technology review, data applying science to develop a route risk tool and the environmental impact of fuel cell electric vehicles. Other projects include developing a cellular automata model for modelling bicycle traffic, investigation fast response NO2 sensor testing equipment and 3D capture and visualisation.

For more information on the TRL Academy and its reinvestment research programme, download the full report at:

About the TRL Academy

The TRL Academy coordinates research and innovation to underpin TRL’s position as a leading global transport research institute. The work of the Academy supports knowledge creation and transfer, aiming to increase our intellectual capital, skills and capabilities across science, engineering and research disciplines.

Our ability to generate and apply this knowledge shapes and defines the future of transport. Academy investment in our people and the strategic relationships fostered with industry and academia means that our clients worldwide benefit from pioneering, industry-leading and evidence-based research.

About TRL:

TRL is a global centre for innovation in transport and mobility. It provides world-leading research, technology and software solutions for surface transport modes and related markets of automotive, motorsport, insurance and energy.

Independent from government, industry and academia, TRL helps organisations create global transport systems that are safe, clean, affordable, liveable and efficient. Core areas of expertise include transport safety; vehicle engineering & simulation; investigations & major incident forensics; human factors & behavioural science; intelligent transport systems; infrastructure asset management; and sustainability & climate change.

Established in 1933 within the British Government as the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory, TRL was subsequently privatised in 1996. Today, TRL has more than 1,000 clients across 145 countries, driving positive societal and economic benefit worldwide.