Design engineering firm Arup is to trial the use of part-time kerb space, or “FlexKerbs”, on the main road in London after being shortlisted in the National Infrastructure Commission’s “Roads for the Future” competition.
According to the company, a “single FlexKerb segment could function as a cycle path at rush hour, a pedestrian plaza at lunchtime, a [driverless car] rank in the evening and a loading zone overnight.”
Arup will simulate the concept via computer modelling.
There are four other shortlisted entries in the competition, which was run in association with Highways England and Innovate UK. One is for “segregated driverless zones” and the entry uses the example of protected cycleways to promote the concept.
Launched in January, the competition asked for innovative and creative ideas on how to deliver a “world-class road network in the UK ready for connected and autonomous vehicles.” 81 ideas were received and these were whittled down to the five concepts unveiled today.
Each of the shortlisted entries will receive £30,000 to further develop their ideas. The winner, announced in the Autumn, will receive a further £50,000.
Chair of the judging panel Bridget Rosewell said: “We have to consider how our roads will work to support new driverless cars from the moment they arrive.
“We wanted to see how the rules of the road, road design and traffic management could all be adapted to accommodate these new vehicles – and these five entries particularly demonstrated the exciting potential there is to make the best use of those we already have.”