Loughborough University is leading this £5.7m project to help European cities assess the future of driverless transport across the continent and plan in advance for the impact it will have on infrastructure and society.

The project, named Levitate, or Societal Level Impacts of Connected and Automated Vehicles, will look at how cities, towns, regional authorities and national governments can use technology, and create new systems to accommodate the forecast growth of driverless cars, busses, taxis and pods, as well as autonomous freight and logistics.

Predictions estimate that by 2030, 25 per cent of vehicles will be completely autonomous, with the remaining 75 per cent being classed as highly autonomous – able to steer, accelerate/decelerate and monitor the surrounding environment.

Principal investigator of Levitate Professor Pete Thomas, of Loughborough Design School, said: “The aim of the Levitate project is to help cities and regions to find the best ways to improve mobility through the increasing numbers of connected and automated vehicles.These vehicles bring new challenges and have the potential to disrupt mobility in both good and bad ways. Our job in Levitate is to provide a new scientific basis that will enable cities and regions to make policy decisions that are the best for each circumstance.”

Aimsun will be working alongside the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) to provide modelling capability to the project, involving forecasting and backcasting. The city simulation models provided by Aimsun will be enhanced to allow impact assessment of a wide range of CAV systems, that in turn will be used as one of the inputs for the projects’ web-based decision support system for city planners.

Find out more about the Levitate project here.