Costain awarded contract for Wi-Fi road

The tech-based construction and engineering company has been awarded the contract by Highways England to design, install and implement one of the UK’s first connected vehicle corridors in Kent.

The road will be known as the A2/M2 Connected Corridor and will initially cover a 4km stretch between London and Dover. Next spring a further 19km test will take place and subject to a successful review, a 55km trial will be undertaken in 2020. The current contract budget is up to £15m.

Roadside technology will be implemented using data supplied by Transport for London, Highways England and Kent County Council.

Trial vehicles will be fitted with onboard technology that will communicate with roadside units via wireless and cellular communication, creating a ‘Wi-Fi road’.

That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get wi-fi on your phone. The purpose of this is to convey real-time information to vehicles in relation to road works, road conditions, temporary speed limits and the time remaining before a traffic light turns to green.

A2/M2 will also act as a technology testbed for Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems, or C-ITS. The systems will allow road users and traffic managers to share information and use it to coordinate their actions.

This is expected to significantly improve road safety, traffic efficiency and driving comfort, by helping drivers make the right decisions and adapt to traffic situations.

The contract also hopes to help promote the UK as a market leader in autonomous vehicle development.

Andrew Wyllie, chief executive of Costain said: “This is an important step in making our roads safer and improving journey time reliability by embracing cutting edge technology. It is a further demonstration of Costain’s capability and we look forward to leading the way with the deployment and testing of this exciting technology”.

Information from the contract will eventually be used to develop connected vehicle standards and facilitate a wide scale distribution of connected vehicle technology.

Further up north, over 50 miles of Coventry and Birmingham roads have become the largest testing environment in the UK for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. Launched in June, the Midlands Future Mobility project is working towards deploying new roadside infrastructure including smart vehicle monitoring by Costain, as well as data analytics and 5G-ready wireless infrastructure.

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