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An innovative solution to the problem of traffic congestion


A revolutionary steering mechanism for the public transport systems of the future that is safer and cheaper to install than current methods will be developed thanks to an investment of £70,000 from NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts), the organisation that supports UK innovation and creativity.

Warwickshire-based Transport Design International Ltd (TDI) will develop Safeguide, an automatic, electronic steering system for use on rubber-tyred trams or people carriers thanks to an investment from NESTA’s Invention & Innovation programme. This will enable the public transport systems of the future to move easily along narrow networks in historic town centres that could otherwise not accommodate a mass transit system.

The system is based around the concept of detecting low frequency signals generated through underground cables (the primary system), with the added security of a unique, high integrity secondary steering system which is designed to automatically take over from the primary system should an emergency condition be detected. Such an approach differs significantly from other forms of electronic guidance, which rely on the driver to take evasive action in the event of failure.

The Safeguide has significant advantages over other forms of guidance. It’s infrastructure is virtually invisible, it is inexpensive to install, will work in nearly all weather conditions and there are no trip hazards for pedestrians.

Mark White, NESTA Director of Invention and Innovation, said:

“Electronic guidance systems could revolutionise public transport throughout the world. It is potentially cheap, reliable and virtually invisible and could offer a very real solution to traffic congestion without any adverse environmental effects. We are delighted to be able to invest in such a ground-breaking idea, with such huge social and commercial potential.”

Joseph Meaney | alfa
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