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The Economic Heartland is harnessing new technologies and insight to enhance the journey experience across the region.

Our focus is on delivering positive economic impacts and making life better for our residents.

The Heartland's door is open to any potential partners who want to work with us on testing and deploying innovative technology and processes which will fulfil those aims: we are the UK's living laboratory.

Intelligent Infrastructure

England’s Economic Heartland is exploring how two award-winning intelligent infrastructure projects could be implemented in the region.

Elgin/ Tom Tom won the regional intelligent infrastructure challenge at the Highways UK Conference with their real-time congestion monitor, while Valerann won the overall competition with its intelligent road studs.

Both had entered the regional challenge set by England’s Economic Heartland and Transport for the North, inviting solutions that will improve real-time traffic management and information across the Heartland area.

Valerann’s propriety technology turns road-studs into smart connected devices. They collect traffic flow, road risks, surface condition and maintenance data in real-time from every point in the road which is not only shared with local authorities and control centres, but also communicated to drivers via the road studs’ LED lights and in-vehicle navigation apps.

Elgin and Tom Tom’s website allows, for the first time, traffic managers, works promoters and utilities to monitor congestion caused by individual roadworks and traffic management interventions such as road closures. It has the potential to transform how disruptions are monitored, supporting intelligent real-time network management and supporting more effective intervention strategies and policy.

Elgin's real-time traffic and transport map is available on our website here.

Read our news release in full.

Simulating future scenarios

England's Economic Heartland is currently identifying ways computer modelling can be used to test current and future scenarios and their impact on the wider transport network. For example, we can predict the impact of a stranded vehicle blocking the network and then take action to re-route other drivers around the problem, without causing issues elsewhere.

We could understand the impacts of new housing developments, or what traffic flows will look like once East West Rail or the Oxford-Cambridge expressway is open. The modelling could even allow councils to calculate how future industrial or housing developments, and subsequent additional vehicle journeys, would affect the standard of their roads, and therefore the extra cost of maintenance on their revenue budgets.

Bus travel

Bus travel presents an opportunity to implement and apply technology in new ways to generate new and useful data. For example, cameras and sensors could be placed on the vehicles which provide intelligence to maintenance teams on the state of the roads.

Simple data  - like where travellers get on and off a bus - can help predict demand. That means we can better understand, through modelling, passenger movements on the transport network, generating new opportunities for 'on demand' bus services improving access to services and employment in rural areas.

Future journeys

The video below, produced for Oxfordshire County Council, gives an insight into the way we could travel around Oxford in the future.


Lead officer: James Golding-Graham:

01296 382703 |