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The intelligent transport cluster

Find out more about the cross-faculty Intelligent Transport Cluster, which was launched in 2019

The cross-faculty Intelligent Transport Cluster unites innovators and users with academics across the faculties of the University, to address the challenges of business and society and promote long-term competitiveness in Land, Air and Marine transport systems.

The cluster builds on more than 10 years of collaboration with the Connected Places Catapult (and its precursors). As well as developing and promoting emerging intelligent techniques to drive the UK's Intelligent Mobility market, the cluster aims to develop world-leading innovative technologies and solutions to build smart, safe, sustainable and efficient transport systems fit for the cities of the future.

June 2019

Transportation is evolving quickly and it is essential to invest and develop better solutions for the increasingly demanding challenge of providing safe, efficient, sustainable transportation for the future.

Driverless cars, drone deliveries, on-demand public transport, new data-driven mobility services requiring high-fidelity communication networks and sustainable transport systems built using novel light-weight materials and renewable energy sources are some of the ways set to revolutionise the mobility of people and goods around the world.

Professor Djamila Ouelhadj, Director of the Intelligent Transport Cluster

Industrial strategy: Grand challenge on the future of mobility

The cluster will contribute to the Industrial Strategy and the Future of Mobility Grand challenge to improve the way we move people, goods and services around towns, cities and countryside. For example, the UK’s road and rail network could dramatically reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants. Congestion could be reduced through higher-density use of road space enabled by automated vehicles. Mobility could be available when we want it, where we want it and how we want it.

Strategic alignment

The cluster will make an outstanding contribution in driving research and innovation excellence in transport at the University. It falls under the thematic areas of ‘Sustainability and the Environment’ and ‘Future and Emerging Technologies’. It will contribute to the implementation of the University's strategic priorities and its aspirations in raising its profile and reputation. It builds on more than 10 years of collaboration with the Connected Places Catapult (and its precursors) to develop and promote emerging modelling techniques to drive and promote the Intelligent Mobility market in the UK.

Meeting the market need

The central South-Coast region is home to the UK’s largest marine and maritime sectors The Solent area alone generates over 10% of the sector’s UK GDP. The marine sector represents one of the most important commercial, research and innovation clusters in the world, worth an annual £3.5 billion. The sector currently accounts for 20.5% of the gross value added with the region providing 48,000 jobs locally and supporting over 3,000 businesses. Over the next 12 years this sector is projected to grow by 5% in the region, driven in part by key assets such as the ports of Portsmouth and Southampton, Portsmouth Naval Base and the South Coast Marine Cluster.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Logistics and freight transport
  • Maritime Logistics
  • Railway transport
  • Air transport
  • Sustainable transport
  • Passenger mobility
  • Travel behaviour and human factors
  • Autonomous systems
  • Economics modelling
  • Cyber-security

Case studies

AntsOnDeck: Route Optimisation for Autonomous Vessels

AntsOnDeck (AOD) is a tool that navigates an unmanned autonomous surface vessel using a meta-heuristic, known as Ant Colony Optimisation (ACO). ACO rapidly generates viable routes considering a wide variety of environmental factors; generates optimal autonomous routes in dynamic and complex environments with balanced optimisation across multiple user driven parameters – such as fuel efficiency, risk, and time windows; real-time rerouting for collision avoidance or environmental conditions (wind, current, sea state).

Intelligent Gatelines

Intelligent Gatelines is a project funded by Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) in collaboration with Cubic Transportation Systems (Lead Partner), Transport for London(TfL), Arriva UK Ltd and Connected Places Catapult(CPC). The intelligent gateline project developed and operationally demonstrated an intelligent gateline controller that is capable of automatically self-reconfiguring to maximise peak throughout while preventing station overcrowding.

The proposed intelligent gateline controller implements the following tasks: (1) Identify flow of people within the station environment, and learn to predict the crowds before they arrive at the gateline; (2) reconfigure the direction of individual walkways in a safe and controlled manner, freeing the staff at the gates to engage and support customers. It informs and aids staff to make operational decisions on gate configuration or temporary station closure, which if sub-optimal, adversely affect network capacity, safety and customer experience.

Windfarm Autonomous Surface Project (WASP)

WASP is a joint industry project set to explore the technical, regulatory and societal issues of using autonomous surface vessels, integrated with existing manned shipping operations, to support offshore wind farm operations and maintenance. The goal of the project is to develop a timeline for the phased introduction of autonomous vessels. The project is part funded by Innovate UK and led by L3Harris and in partnership with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, SeaRoc Group, Houlder and University of Portsmouth.

As part of the project, L3Harris have developed the autonomous control system to tackle the challenges presented by the operation of autonomous vessels in the constrained environment of a wind farm. ORE Catapult have developed the use cases and validation of the cost savings created by the project. SeaRoc Group have extended the SeaPlanner software to assist with the monitoring and operation of autonomous vehicles and the introduction of cargo planning systems. Whilst the University of Portsmouth have developed the logistics management analytics, route planning of the autonomous vessels and the health monitoring system.  Houlder have developed the vessel concept design and an innovative handling system to enable autonomous cargo transfer.

Smart Port Cities

The Smart Port Cities project aims to develop a Smart Port Cities Platform to support a range of applications. Initially, focused on air quality the platform will provide a long-term framework for addressing wider challenges. It will also support decision making agents including city authorities, operators, regulators, the port and surrounding communities with information services and innovative solutions for a wide range of operational, environmental, economic and social challenges. Satellite derived communications and earth observation information, ground data and sensed systems will be combined with the BD processing, analytical capability and presentational tools to support decision-making. The goal is to turn multi source, disparate data sets into actionable intelligence. The infrastructure and service will be based on open, standards-based, flexible, modular systems creating a generic capability that can be used in port cities.

Cluster collaborators include


Cluster Director

Djamila Ouelhadj Portrait

Professor Djamila Ouelhadj

Professor of Operational Research

School of Mathematics and Physics

Faculty of Technology

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Contact details and cluster members

Explore related research

Take a closer look at the work we're doing across our related Research Themes and Research Areas.

Future and emerging technologies

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Transportation and maritime systems

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Centre for Operational Research and Logistics

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