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DfT launches £2.5m transport tech funding package

The Department for Transport will make £2.5m available through a series of grants for innovative ideas and technology in the transport sector

The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched three grants totalling £2.5m to help “future proof” the transport industry by harnessing innovation

The funding is available to companies, individuals and academics, and is intended to reduce barriers to innovation.

Transport minister John Hayes said the government was committed to improving the UK transport system and that “innovation is a vital part of that”.

“We are already making headway and expect to see more smart ideas and technologies coming from this funding,” he said.

“Through these schemes, small businesses and academics gain access to much-needed financial support, allowing them to explore new ideas and move innovations on to the next stage of development.” 

The funding is split into three, with £1m being made available through an innovation challenge fund that helps to support the development of “technologies, methods or processes to help meet DfT policy goals”, said Hayes. 

The DfT has already awarded 33 transport technology research innovation grants (T-TRIG) worth a total of £833,000 to early-stage innovations, and a further £700,000 is being made available for a second round of T-TRIG awards. 

Projects already awarded funding includes a scheme to create a solar-powered eBike charging system and a smart country road reporting system that uses sensors to collect real-time monitoring data. 

The T-TRIG grants are usually available to SMEs and academia. 

In his Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond promised a £390m investment in future transport technology, including £100m for “testing infrastructure for driverless cars” and £450m for trialling “digital signalling on our railways”. 

Hammond also announced a £23bn national productivity investment fund that will be spent on innovation and infrastructure in sectors such as housing, transport, digital communications and research over the next five years.

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