£28m investment to boost sustainable transport of people and goods in the Solent
Thanks to a £28 million Solent Transport Zone project funded by the Department for Transport, the University of Portsmouth will benefit from £3.3 million to trial innovative and sustainable ways to move people and goods.
Researchers at the University of Portsmouth will develop smartphone apps for planning and paying for sustainable travel journeys, and trial new approaches to freight distribution – including drone freight trials for NHS deliveries across the Solent to the Isle of Wight.
The funding was awarded to Solent Transport (comprising Southampton City Council, Portsmouth City Council, Isle of Wight Council, and Hampshire County Council) to develop a three-year Solent Transport Zone programme. The zone will provide real-world testing for university experts to work with a range of local bodies including councils, hospitals and airports to test and implement personal and freight mobility projects.
It is our ambition to reduce environmental impacts of transport, improve air quality, tackle climate change and transform the Solent region into a better place to live and work for the residents.
The University of Portsmouth will develop sustainable transport solutions to reduce private car usage making travel journeys easier, smarter and greener. They will investigate the environmental impacts of freight movement within the city of Portsmouth and the wider Solent’s urban areas, and develop innovative and sustainable approaches to urban logistics, reducing the impact that goods movement has on congestion, air quality, safety and journey times.
Djamila Ouelhadj, Professor of Operational Research and Analytics at the University of Portsmouth, is Director of the University’s Intelligent Transport Cluster and principal investigator on the project.
She said: “I am very delighted to be a partner on a project of this scale and to work with Solent Transport to implement innovative and sustainable transport solutions to improve the way we move people, goods and services within the City of Portsmouth and the wider Solent’s urban areas. It is our ambition to reduce environmental impacts of transport, improve air quality, tackle climate change and transform the Solent region into a better place to live and work for the residents.
“This ambition will also deliver on the Air Quality Strategy of Portsmouth City Council and the University Vision 2030 and Strategy 2025 to become a more sustainable Portsmouth.”
Professor Djamila Ouelhadj and her colleagues will develop new modes for planning and paying for sustainable multi-modal journeys via mobile devices, including upgrading the Solent Go multi-operator smartcard and creating a new Mobility as a Service (MaaS) app. MaaS will provide travellers with more informed travel choices, taking into account many different factors contributing to cost and convenience, real-time data to enable live journey planning, ticketing and payment options, parking options, and car cost cost calculator for car journeys. MaaS will be trialled at the University with students, staff and visitors and the wider Solent region.
This ambition will also deliver on the Air Quality Strategy of Portsmouth City Council and the University Vision 2030 and Strategy 2025 to become a more sustainable Portsmouth.
Professor Ouelhadj said: “MaaS is a new mobility business model, relying on a digital platform that integrates travel planning and payment for various modes of transport services into a single on-demand service. It is our aspiration to mark the shift from privately-owned cars, encourage active travel, and provide travellers with a MaaS app to plan their journey based on their travel needs using sustainable modes of transport and more affordable and accessible ways of getting around the City of Portsmouth and the Solent.”
The University will also trial new sustainable solutions for freight distribution including the UK’s first drone delivery trial for the NHS to move medical supplies between three hospitals in Hampshire - Southampton General Hospital, Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth and St Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight. The trial has been moved forward by UK government transport secretary Grant Shapps, so that urgent medical supplies and equipment can be delivered as part of the fight against Covid-19.
Professor Ouelhadj said: “The drone trials project has been fast-tracked by the government to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic. It is very rewarding to see the first aerial drone trials successfully deliver medical supplies to St Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight to support the NHS and the community in such unprecedented times and save lives.”
The Department for Transport’s £90m investment in new future transport zones will also test innovative ways to transport people and goods in the West of England Combined Authority and Derby and Nottingham.