The University’s Smart Mobility Research Unit brings together interdisciplinary research and professional services to apply practical solutions and innovations in transport to benefit the University and its wider community.
Launched in March 2018, the Unit builds on the University’s long-established expertise in transport research and ground-breaking projects in smart mobility. These include smart bus ticketing and EValu8, which delivered the Government’s ‘plugged-in places’ scheme to develop the take-up of electric vehicles across the East of England from 2010.
The Unit’s research interests encompass travel planning, transport-related behaviour change, intelligent transport systems, mobile ticketing, biometrics, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), big data analysis and spatial mapping.
Its researchers are working with local authorities and public transport operators to develop practical transport solutions that benefit the University and local community. This includes working with the University-owned bus company, UNO, whose fleet of 130 buses use smart ticketing established and modelled by the University. The bus company acts as a ‘living laboratory’ and demonstrator for the University’s transport research projects.
Mobility as a service
The Smart Mobility Research Unit is also a key partner in local projects such as the Hatfield 2030 plan to redevelop the town centre, which is close to the University, and is working to develop Mobility as a Service (MaaS), which aims to make transport an integral part of community planning and change. Its biometrics research and data analysis is looking at how apps designed to encourage travellers away from private transport can be used to incentivise town centre businesses to engage with smart mobility initiatives.
Further afield, the University’s researchers are working with suppliers of next-generation ANPR systems, to develop prototype systems that can provide high-definition images operating in real time. The University has supported the Home Office and local police forces through developing new ANPR technology for crime prevention, and has advised on national policy for improved legislation.