Professor Phil Blythe
Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems and Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for Transport

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  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7935
  • Fax: +44 (0) 191 208 6502
  • Address: School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences
    Room 2.27
    Transport Operations Research Group (TORG)
    Cassie Building
    Newcastle University
    NE1 7RU


PROFESSOR PHIL BLYTHE CEng, FIET is Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems and served as Director of the Transport Operations Research Group at Newcastle University for 13 years until stepping down from this post in June 2015 to take up a three year, 3-day a week appointment as Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Transport (DfT).

He will continue as Professor of ITS in part time capacity during this period.

Phil’s research portfolio covers a wide range of areas where ITS has been applied to transport including: road to vehicle communications; road user charging and toll systems; ITS for assistive mobility, smartcards and RFID, wireless/smartdust technologies, electromobility and future intelligent infrastructure and is reflected in his research-led teaching in ITS and e-Services.  His primary research is forward looking and attempts to bridge the technology-policy gap in terms of what technologies may evolve to meet future policy objectives or indeed influence future policy thinking to meet the three main challenges currently facing transport, namely: congestion, climate change and future energy vectors.


Phil has devoted his academic career to the development of the research area of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) which is essentially the use of Information, communications and computing technology applied to transport. Phil established the first MSc level module in the UK in the field of ITS in 1997 and this has proved to be highly popular with the MSc and undergraduate students as well as topical and providing an understanding of how policy objectives and the possibilities offered by new technologies interact and mutually drive each other.

Looking back, Phil is best known for his research in the area of road user charging. In the early 1990’s he led major European Consortia which developed the basic technologies for road user charging and tolling (PAMELA; ADEPT; and ADEPT II) which largely formed the basis for the European DSRC-standards. He led the team that implemented the Cambridge Congestion charging trial in 1993-94 and has been involved in most of the major road user charging research initiatives across Europe including the review of charging options for London (ROCOL) which delivered the feasibility study for the subsequent implementation of the London Congestion Charging Scheme.  More recently in his high profile role as lead expert on the Governments  Foresight Intelligent Infrastructure study brought him to National prominence (2004-2007).

As of September 2012, Phil’s research portfolio has about £3m work in hand and includes being PI on three EPSRC projects (Land of the Muscos, Undermining Infrastructure and TUCP), as well as CI on the EPSRC projects SIDE and Intelligent Lamposts. He is also currently PI on three EU FP7 projects (SAVE-ME, VERITAS and SMART-CEM) and PI on the TSB funded North East’s Electric Vehicle Demonstration project (SWITCH-EV).  The research currently funds eight full-time Research Associates and a number of PhD students.

Regionally, Phil supports and engages with the region in numerous ways. He was the academic member of the NE Interim Regional Transport Board and although this body has been formally disbanded he still plays an informal role advising regional stakeholders on transport strategy and funding opportunities and in promoting the NE region as the place to research and demonstrate electric vehicles and their supporting infrastructure.   He was also instrumental in making the case to ensure the regional UTMC centre was hosted at Newcastle University and has written the Centre into many of the recent research proposals generated by the research team as part of the living lab and regional transport observatory development.

Nationally, Phil continues as a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College and attended several panel meetings during the year.  He also was invited as the Transport expert to the EPSRC/ESRC sandpit on the Digital Economy where he presented concepts on innovative transport futures and was also appointed as the mentor to facilitate the EPSRC Sandpit on Resilient Infrastructure.  Phil continues to undertake several roles for the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology), including: Chairman of the Transport Policy Panel; Editorial Board of the ITS Journal; as well as a co-organiser of the IET’s annual Road User Charging Conference.  Additionally Phil organised and chaired an IET media event to provide commentary on the technical issues associated with the implementation of road pricing in the UK and another on the unintended consequences of transport policies.  He also co-hosted the IET’s Parliamentary Reception as the transport sector representative and has given oral evidence to the Transport Select Committee on three occasions in the past 18 months. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Royal Academy of Engineering expert group on Electric Vehicles which delivered a major report to Government in June 2010 and has recently advised the RAEng on smart grids and intelligent transport systems.  He has also recently been reappointed as an external expert to the DfT on future road strategy and chairs the ITS UK interest group on electric vehicles. In July 2009, Professor Sir John Beddington, the UK Governments’ Chief Scientific Advisor,  appointed Phil to undertake the Science Engineering Assurance (SEA) Review of the DfT – this report was published in late 2010.    

Internationally, Phil advices the EU on several areas of transport research including ITS and electric vehicles and in May 2012 delivered the EU roadmap of how ITS can be used to support electro-mobility in Europe.  In January 2012 Phil was appointed the Transport Expert to the Copenhagen Research Forum which assisted the Danish Presidency in drafting their Roadmap on how to deliver the EU’s new Framework Research Programme: Horizon 2020.   Phil represents TransportNewcastle in ERTICO (ITS Europe) and was elected to the ERTICO Supervisory Board in April 2012.  Phil is also coordinating the Universities engagement with three major European entities: HIGHER (Hydrogen and electric vehicle network), POLIS (a grouping of major European Cities who engage in EU research programmes) and ETRI (European Transport Research Institutes).  Phil is co-editor of two journals (IET ITS Journal and EETR) and is also a member of the ITS World Congress Board and a member of the programme and scientific papers committee of the Congress.  He was also gave the closing Keynote Plennary speech at the EU's Transport Arena Conference in Athens in May 2012.

In March 2012 Phil was awarded the Reece-Hills Medal for a lifetime personal contribution to ITS.

Phil holds a number of patents for ITS and ICT related inventions, publishes widely and provides knowledge outreach, consultancy and training courses in many aspects of ITS research. Further details of his research and activities can be found at:

Roles and Responsibilities

Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems

Member of School Research Committee 

'Intelligent' Theme Leader for Transport Newcastle

Member of Informatics Institute Advisory Panel

Member of Transport Newcastle Strategy Board

Member of School PECs Committee, School of CEGS 


Chartered Engineer

Previous Positions

1999-2003 Senior Lecturer in Transport Telematics, School of Civil Engineering, Newcastle University


Fellow of the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology)

Chairman IET Transport Policy Panel

National Media Spokesman for IET

Chairman of the ITS UK Electric Vehicle Working Group

Member of the Electric Vehicle Steering Committee, Royal Academy of Engineering

Member Automotive Council, Intelligent Mobility Working Group

External Research Advisor, DfT

Member of the DfT's Road Strategy Experts Group 

Chairman of North East ITS Cluster

Member of ERTICO Research Sector Platform

Member of the ERTICO Supervisory Board 

Board of Directors, ITS World Congress

Member of Editorial Board IET Journal of ITS

Foresight Science and Technology Ambassador

Member of Scientific Committee and International Programme Committee, ITS World Congress

UKTI Intelligent Transport Advisor

Member of Editorial Board Journal of ETRR (European Transport Research Review)



Research Interests

Phil's main area of research is in fields related to 'Intelligent Transport Systems'. This covers the innovative use of new technologies, fundamental technical and applications research, demonstrations, proof-of concept, evaluation, delivering the evidence base and informing policy.

Although the research covers a wide portfolio, key areas of reearch include road user charging, e-tolling, demand management, the use of smartcards for transport, ID and citizen-card applications, delivery of information to mobile sources, mobile ad-hoc wireless sytems and sensors, intelligent infrastructure and policy/technologies issues related to transport/energy/environment low-carbon transport and climate change.

Other Expertise

Future scoping and scenario building

Technology options and application design


Scheme design and assessment

Chairing, facilitating and brainstorming

Bringing transport issues to the media and the public

Current Work

Current research Projects:

EU IST 6th Framework ASK-IT project (Ambient Intelligence System of Agents for Knowledge-Based and Integrated Services for Mobility Impaired Users). ASK-IT uses ambient intelligence technology to provide functions and services for older and disabled people in various environments, including home, work, leisure and transport. The main features include: Mediation of content and services; seamless environment management (anywhere, anytime); User preference and context-related processes; flexible geo-referenced services; a user confidence based environment. Currently developing and 'intelligent corridor' in Tyne and Wear to demonstrate a range of mobility and info-services for special needs users in partnership with a number of local industrial organisations, user groups and service providers. The project runs from November 2004 to October 2008. Key techniques and research outcomes from this project are being developed further in a new Integrated Project, OASIS which runs from 2008-2011.

European Commission Leonardo da Vinci Programme: TRANEE Project (Transport in e-Europe). TRANEE aims to support small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the freight and logistics industry and helping them to make investment decisions in new ITS technologies to support their future growth. TRANEE supports these businesses in developing a range of competencies and good practice to perform effectively in the enlarged EU. This requires a recognition and understanding of the fundamental shift to a knowledge-based economy, which includes, but is not limited to, the ability of SMEs to adopt and integrate new technologies, and identify and capitalise on new market opportunities. The final training programme material was launched at an ITS UK event by Steve Norris in March 2006. The project runs from October 2003 to June 2006.

EU IST 6th Framework Project TRACKSS (Technologies for Road Advanced Cooperative Knowledge Sharing Sensors). The project runs from January 2006 to September 2008. The focus of TRACKSS is to research advanced communications concepts using mobile wireless networks to deliver an ITS interoperable and scalable system architectures that allow the coexistance of a rangge of sensors in the same network for environmental monitoring, anti-collision, accurate possitioning, safety and information for traffic management and control applications and their integration into intelligent co-operative systems. The project runs from January 2006 to September 2008.

EU IST 6th framework project EMMA: Embedded Middleware Multi-Applications for ITS. EMMA has the goal to investigate new opportunities for the development of generic, open embedded middleware for cooperating wireless objects. Through proof of concept trials in Newcastle and 4 other European locations the project will deliver a middleware platform and a development environment which facilitates the design and implementation of embedded software for cooperative sensing objects. The project runs from May 2006 to December 2008.

TfL Project: Review of London Congestion Charging Technology Trials
TFL is currently undertaking a series of trials with a range of different technologies to explore which could be candidate systems for the future extension of the London Congestion Scheme. A peer review panel of experts has been established to review the performance of the trails and to advise TFL on the next stages of the study. Phase 1 was completed in the Autumn of 2004. In Phase 2 TfL will look in more detail at a number of candidate technologies and undertake medium sized trials of the system in 2005 and early 2006. This project is a rolling contract from 2004.

DfT Project: Future Research Challenges in Road User Charging . Newcastle University is assisting with the setting of the DfT’s future research agenda in the area of road user charging. Newcastle University has been assisting the DfT with a brainstorming exercise to gather opinions on the key research challenges from the leading UK, European and international experts in the field. The exercise has included a 2 day workshop in Newcastle in February 2005. The results of the brainstorming sessions were written up and assessed by a team of experts. A follow up workshop will be scheduled in mid 2006 to coincide with the ITS world congress in London. The project began in December 2004 and is on-going

DfT Project: Peer Review of National Road User Charging Options
Prior to the publication of the National Steering Committees report on National Road User Charging, the DfT commissioned a number of experts to analyse the options for future road user charging and the likely migration path for the technologies who could most likely fulfil the requirements for a National Scheme. A series of technology roadmaps were defined and used as input to the Steering Committees final report.

Office of Science and Technology Future Foresight Programme : Intelligent Infrastructure Project. The Foresight Project on Intelligent Infrastructure Systems (IIS) has set out to explore how science and technology could, over the next 50 years, bring intelligence into infrastructure to meet these demanding and sometimes conflicting objectives. The project found that intelligence could help us to meet these objectives and perhaps do more. It could stimulate growth rather than simply supporting it, perhaps going so far as to permit manufacturing with virtually no waste. Intelligence could also support and promote a more inclusive society. Looking 50 years ahead created challenges for the project. The project commissioned leading researchers to write state of research reviews, which set out what all areas of science, including psychology and the physical sciences, and technology could deliver within the next few years. The Research Reviews covered areas as diverse as artificial intelligence and data mining, through to how information affects our choices and the psychology of travel. As part of this the project developed a Technology Forward Look to review existing roadmaps for the development and application of the technology, and to consider how IIS might shape business in the longer term. It also produced a set of scenarios that provide a range of credible and coherent pictures of the technology we might invest in, and how society might react to those investments.

Nearly 300 people participated in these exercises, ranging from research experts to those who deliver the services and those who take decisions on policy and investment at national, regional and local levels. In summary the project has provided:
a view of the future technologies and an exploration in the scenarios of how we might deploy those technologies
· understanding of how best to use those technologies to deliver our objectives;
· a view of the opportunities and challenges that intelligent infrastructure will deliver;
· understanding the presumptions that underpin the decisions we make; and
· the strategic choices that the UK faces, along with most other societies
The project findings were launched by Sir David King and Dr Steven Ladyman (Minister of State for Transport) in January 2006 on-going support actions will continue until 2007.
TfL Framwework project as subcontractor to SERCO: East London Traffic Control Systems (ELTRACS) Refresh study TORG are providing and independent peer review of the revised communications architecture and strategy for the East London Traffic Control System as part of the quality control process for the study. The project started mid 2005 and will be completed mid-2006 - with a three year outreach and delivery programme to follow this up.

DfT and Office of Science and Technology Project: Smart Market Protocols for Road Transport . A multi-disciplinary research team have been tasked with testing the premise that future intelligent infrastructure could offer new and innovative possibilities in how traffic demand management could be implemented. Foresight and the DfT asked Essex, Newcastle and Cranfield Universities to model how the number of cars affected traffic flow, and what price you would have to charge users to keep the traffic flowing freely. Their model assumed that people had to bid for a ‘slot’ to use their car on those roads.

The work was based on detailed data and a Vissim model of the Gateshead area. The model was calibrated for emissions and pollution models. It showed how speed dropped and pollution increased markedly when more than 11,000 vehicles passed through the system. Analysis of the geographical distribution of the road traffic showed how the location of types of house and jobs affected the flows of vehicles from north to south and vice versa through Gateshead’s main arterial roads.

The research team investigated the possible impact of ‘road pricing’ on congestion in the area by combining the Gateshead model with another model which simulated the behaviours of individuals choosing whether to buy a slot to drive in an on-line bidding process. By setting the number of ‘slots,’ one can explore the price that people would put on being able to travel. At nearly 17,000 ‘slots,’ that value was zero, but grew rapidly as the number of ‘slots’ reduced. In return, these travellers enjoyed higher average speeds and reduced their impact on the environment.

This combination of models provides a means to test pricing options, so that prices can be set to achieve the best outcome. Following the successful implementation of the smart markets protocol model which has been widely disseminated, the research team are considering the research challenges relating to the technical implementation of such a scheme. The project started in June 2005 and initial findings were published in March 2006

Serco Framework project for SE: Scottish Executive Smartcard Scheme Support
TORG is providing technical expertise to support the Scottish Executive’s smartcard implementations in transport and for citizen cards as part of a Framework contract awarded to SERCO. The project started in December 2005 and is on-going

WSP Project: Bucharest Traffic Modelling. TORG provided substantial input into building a micro-simulation model of the road and traffic control network of down-town Bucharest. The model was developed using the Vissim Traffic Microsimulator. The research was in support of a larger traffic management project undertaken by WSP Transport.

To support interoperability of smartcard ticketing systems, the EU recently funded the IFM (Interoperable Fare Management) Project. This project aims to make access to public transport networks more user-friendly by facilitating their accessibility. By 2015 smart ticketing systems will be compatible to ease access to all the users of public transport. The objective of the “Interoperable Fare Management Project” (IFM Project) is to provide travellers with shared types of contact-less media throughout Europe. These can be used for multiple transport products (“tickets”) in different geographic areas and for sustainable modal switching, such as the use of “Park and Ride”. Today, most media are restricted for use in specific networks. Newcastles Primary Role is to provide expertise in the analysis of existing trust models used by the IFM partners in their smartcard schemes and to develop and generic trust model useable by all smart media ticketing schemes in Europe

In policy delivery work, Phil has been appointed from September 2008 to advise the DfT on Transport Futures in the context of delivery of TASTs. As part of the DfT on-going work on the development of the TASTs delivery programme the DfT have formed a futures expert group to advise and comment on the development of scenarios which will be used to test the policy options for the delivery of TASTs. The scenarios have been developed and evolved from a set first designed to look at opposing futures that could evolve depending on the evolution of technology and the demand for transport over a 50 year period, for the Foresight Intelligent Infrastructure project.
Work is on-going on the design and validation of the scenarios the framework necessary to test the policy options.

Developing the digital economy research theme has been achieved through verious activities such as brainstorming meetings and looking at how we can use previous research on Intelligent infrastructure. In parallel with this we were awarded in 2008 an EPSRC project to look at future Mobility management and the digital economy (SIMM). The overall aim of the SIMM research cluster is to explore the research challenges associated with how to exploit the capabilities of the digital economy to promote and enable the development of new services to support and improve the decision making capability of travellers, transport network managers and the wider community.
The SIMM research cluster is a partnership of 12 academic groups and 3 industrial organisations with active research and business interests in the development of the digital economy and its relationship to transport. The consortium spans 4 key technical areas of direct relevance to the digital economy in a transport context; computing, communications, positioning and navigation and transport modelling. In addition, the industrial partners provide a range of domain experience that compliments the academic experience.
Through a series of workshops and conferences, backed by web based interaction and resources the SIMM cluster will establish new academic research collaborations, bringing together new disciplinary combinations and establishing between individuals the relationships of mutual understanding and trust necessary to underpin successful collaboration. These collaborations, which will include extensive interaction with stakeholders, will define, scope and prioritise research challenges and develop specific research proposals, which will be taken forward to a variety of funding bodies. Newcastle are responsible for the analysis of how others have adopted the digital economy in transport and what best practice can be learnt from this. This has required field study trips to Tokyo, New York, Stockholm and Venice.

In developing the environmental and low carbon theme two key EPSRC funded projects are developing environmental monitoring (MESSAGE Project) and Eco Driving solutions (FOOTLITE project). These coupled with Low Carbon Vehicle Research being undertaken in the region is developing into one of the key areas for on-going and future research in the group.

Future Research

Research is being focused in six main areas:

Road user charging - investigating a range of innovative technology options and assessing new methods of charging, such as smart market protocols.

Mobile information delivery, through a series of projects and demonstrtations including the use of future pervasive communications for innovative traveller information delivery.

Wireless sensor networks - throughs everal European funded projects and the newley awarded EPSRC e-Science project Pervasive Monitoring of Environmental Sensor Grids.

Smart card research on spacial data, be-in be-out technology, biometric templates and the use of RFID (radio frequency identification)and NFC (near field communications) for future ticketing, ID and payment applications.

Future intelligent infrastructures and their role in future transport provision and their potential impact on energy, environmental and climate change issues.

Digital Economy: How new ICT systems and services are being applied to the on-line economy and its impacts on transport and inclusion.

Research Roles

Adviser to OST-Foresight (Intelligent Infrastructure, Cyber-Trust and Crime and Land Use Futures)

Member of executive team IET Professional Network on Automotive and Road Transport Systems.

Advisor to DfT in various research roles, such as in National Road User Charging Research, Smartcard Research and advising on future research strategy

Advisor to the BERR and InnovITS on the National ITS Innovations Platform.

Research Group Leader (Internal school role)

Member of CEGS Research Comittee

Postgraduate Supervision

5 current post graduate Students:

Amy Weihong Guo: Future Intelligent Traveller Information Systems: Impacts on travel choices. Amy recently won the Moving On 2006 Prize for best student paper.

Rick Fairchild: Investigating the Potential of Galileo for Future Autonomous Navigation and Dynamic Collision Avoidance Systems

Adil Mohammed: Investigating the use of low-cost wireless sensors for pervasive environmental monitoring of traffic emissions.

Jurgen Wagner. Navigation systems for pedestrians

Glyn Rhys-Tyler: Environmental Impact of Traffic (2nd supervisor)

Esteem Indicators

Editor in Chief IET Journal 'Proceeding of ITS'.

Lead expert on the Foresight Intelligent Infrastructure study

Expert for DfT Transport Futures Group

Member of EPSRC Peer Review College (since 2002)

Chairman IET (formerly IEE) Transport Sector Panel (this is their outward facing high-level policy group which comments on policy initiatives and other high-level issues in transport that relate to the IET)

Advisor to DfT on road user charging and future ITS technologies and strategies.

Board member ITS World Congress

Keynote, Royal Society Thought Leadership debate (July 2005)

Keynote, Academy of Social Scientists debate on Intelligent Infrastructure (September 2005)

Member of IET PN-ARTS Executive Team

Advisor to CEN ISS Standards on future ICT standards

Member of the Transport Card Forums Steering Committee.


Current funding by category:

EU Funding currently in excess of Euro 2,100,000 (ASK-IT, EMMA, TRACKSS, OASIS, IFM, SAVE-ME and TRANEE projects)

EPSRC Funding £1,000.013 (MESSAGE Project), £355,000 (FOOTLITE Project) and £46,500 (SIMM Project).

Industrial research funding in excess of £900,000

Other Government funding (DTI, OST, DfT etc) in excess of £40,000

Consultancy and advisory roles funding in excess of £55,000

Industrial Relevance

Support industrial research at the technical, futures, strategy and policy levels, through research, consultancy and advisory roles. Current and recent clients include: SERCO, Scottish Exececutive, DfT, DUIS-OSI, DBER-TSB, Cubic Transportation, Mouchel, The AA, Scheidt & Bachmann, Cambs County Council, TfL, Group Eigis, HMCE, WSP, Faber Maunsell, Philips Research and Philips FIMI, IBM, Motorola and Hyder, to name but a few.


A US and European patent for a electronic sign-posting systems for elderly and disabled users (Smartsign intelligent direction)was awarded in 2002.

The Patent was titles ‘Routing and Navigation System’. US Patent Published 30/08/01 (US6477463) and European Patent Published 16/08/01 (EP1124110).


ITS, intelligent transport, intelligent infrastructure, e-transport, demand management, road user charging, electronic tolling, ETS, smartcards, smart card, biometrics, mobile information services, LBS, mobile adhoc networks, wireless networks, DSRC, smartdust, transport telematics