£7.75m for a sustainable transport future

Thursday 5 March 2009

A centre to revolutionise the future of UK transport industry was announced today by Transport Minister Andrew Adonis. The £7.75m programme, will be based at Imperial College London as well as University College London and the University of Leeds, and will draw on scientific experts from across the country.

The UK Transport Research Centre (UKTRC) will undertake long and short-term research on some of the key big questions likely to face transport in the next decade and beyond, including:

  • Economic competitiveness
  • The environment 
  • Society
  • Mobility and accessibility
  • Technology  

Whilst visiting Imperial College, Andrew Adonis said;

"We are committed to delivering a first class sustainable transport system in this country - but to do this we need a first class evidence base.

"The research coming out of this new centre will be instrumental in ensuring Britain is at the forefront of new sustainable transport developments."

Research will include the impact of Government investment in transport infrastructure and its effects on the labour market and the economy. Other projects will look at ways to improve governance and decision making in the transport system and predict how technological advances in different sectors might affect future transport demand.

Rector of Imperial College London, Sir Roy Anderson said:

"I welcome the establishment of a national hub for transport research. It will provide a tremendous opportunity to enrich and extend the scope of work carried out in this field and enable Imperial to work more closely with our partners at Leeds and UCL."

Prof Ian Diamond, Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council, who are joint funders, said "The UK’s transport system is at the very heart of the future of the country. Providing a strong base of evidence to inform future government policy will be vital, not just to the economic recovery, but to all aspects of society."

For further information contact

ESRC Press Office:

Notes for editors

  1. The UKTRC will be funded by the DfT, ESRC and the Scottish Government (DfT £5.0m, ESRC £2.5m and the Scottish Government £0.25m). 
  2. The Centre will be led by Prof Peter Jones, seconded from University College London, together with four Executive Directors, and will draw on the multidisciplinary academic expertise found across the academic sector in the UK. The announcement was made during a visit to Imperial College London today, where the Minister met leading academics in transport research. 
  3. The ESRC grant holder is Prof John Polak, Director of Imperial’s Centre for Transport Studies and the grant will be administered through Imperial College London. 
  4. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest funding agency for research and postgraduate training relating to social and economic issues. It supports independent, high quality research which impacts on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's planned total expenditure in 2008/09 is £203 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and research policy institutes. 
  5. Research is expected to start early in 2009.
  6. The UKTRC will carry out research in two streams:
    • Short term policy relevant analysis and research aimed at informing immediate policy questions. This element will be wholly funded by DfT, who will directly commission the research and its dissemination, and will be managed by the University of Leeds. A Policy Research and Analysis Customer Group within DfT has been will be established to steer this work.
    • Longer term in-depth innovative research aimed at developing the evidence base to inform policy questions, dissemination and capacity building - jointly funded by DfT, ESRC and the Scottish Government and managed by Imperial College London.