Pod conference to be held in town

AN INTERNATIONAL conference promoting Daventry as the place to launch futuristic travel will be held in the town next week.

Leading figures in European and UK transport policy will speak at the seminar, which will be hosted by Daventry District Council (DDC) at the leisure centre on Tuesday.

Top of the agenda will be Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) pods and how they could be implemented and funded in the town.

Other transport methods set to be discussed include Group Rapid Transit (GRT), a system of automated ‘cyber buses’ already in operation in Rivium in the Netherlands.

The cyber buses have no driver, but can operate on normal roads and carry more people, unlike four-seater pods which require a track and flyovers.

Among the speakers at the day-long conference will be Norman Baker MP and Professor David Jeffery, who is from the transportation research group at Southampton University.

The seminar will aim to promote the position of Daventry as the place for an innovative transport implementation in the UK.

At the moment Terminal Five at Heathrow Airport is the only place in the country to have a pod network.

Ian Vincent, managing director at DDC, said: “We have been looking for some time at transport innovation for Daventry, to try and ensure that when we have our urban extensions we have a means of moving people around Daventry that doesn’t rely on the motor car and other high CO2 emitting vehicles.

“By working with Niches+ – a European funded project – we have been exposed to what’s going on throughout Europe in terms of the development taking place and how successful, or unsuccessful, they have been.

“It is not a day about just PRT. We have been looking at things like group rapid transport and all sorts of other things.

“Being part of Niches+ we are obliged to put on a conference like this, which is being paid for with money from Niches.

“We will be very interested to hear what the representative from the European Commission has got to say, given that we reckon that a project like this will need external funding and at the moment Europe looks as good a source as any.

“It’s going to be a fairly intense day – we have a lot of speakers. It’s going to be a fairly lively event and I’m hoping we get a lot of questions.”