Town to host £10m UK transport trial?

Driverless car
Driverless car

Tonight (Thursday) councillors will consider bidding for a £10 million project to become the UK base for a pioneering transport trial.

In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced a £10 million fund for a town or city to develop as a site for the consumer testing of driverless or automated cars.

Almost three years ago the Daventry District Council dropped plans for a pod network – also known as personal rapid transport – due to cost.

But, unlike the pods, the driverless car trial would not require any extra infrastructure and would not form part of the public transport network.

DDC says becoming the test site could bring money and jobs into the town and district from suppliers and operators of the vehicles, which includes Google, and put the town’s name on the global stage.

The project could also benefit residents with the possibility some could get to use the vehicles, including those who are currently unable to use a traditional car.

Cllr Chris Over, DDC’s economic, regeneration and employment portfolio holder, said: “Our district has already established a reputation internationally for exploring innovative transport solutions.

“Our valuable knowledge and experience in this field places us in an ideal position to host a test site for driverless cars.

“Officers have outlined both the benefits and potential risks that hosting such a test site would bring to Daventry district and all of these aspects will be carefully considered.”

The proposal will be discussed at the council’s strategy group meeting tonight at DDC’s Lodge Road offices, starting at 6.15pm.