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DARe transport hub

UK launches research hub to decarbonise transport networks

Published on: 8 September 2023

The new national hub will provide expertise, innovative modelling and engagement to support net zero transport networks.

Led by Newcastle University, the hub will help to upgrade and decarbonise the UK’s complex and interconnected national, regional and local transport infrastructures and to adapt to the effects of climate change.

Transport is the largest contributor to UK domestic greenhouse gas emissions, but it is also the engine of economic growth.

To meet net zero emissions by 2050 and protect our economy, it is crucial that our transport infrastructure evolves to meet the challenges of climate change, whether that is flooding or extreme heat.

The new Research Hub for Decarbonised Adaptable and Resilient Transport Infrastructures (DARe) will identify pathways and solutions for delivering a resilient, net-zero transport system that works for people and communities. It will host world-leading researchers who will provide expertise, modelling and data tailored to each area and each transport challenge.  

Funding of £10 million has been awarded by the Department for Transport and UK Research and Innovation, the UK government funder of research.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “The UK is cementing its position as a world-leader in net zero tech with this new investment into climate resilience. This Hub will be a centre of academic excellence, helping us keep our transport network resilient into the future.”

Professor Miles Padgett, Interim Executive Chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, part of UKRI, said: “A well-functioning low carbon transport infrastructure is vital to sustain communities and economies.

“This investment in the climate resilient development of our transport system will keep the UK at the forefront of the green industrial revolution and accelerate the transition to a secure and prosperous green economy.”  

Led by Newcastle University, the DARe hub brings together the universities of Cambridge, Glasgow and Heriot-Watt as partner institutions.

Professor Phil Blythe CBE, Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems, and head of the Future Mobility Group, Newcastle University, said:

"We are delighted to be awarded the Hub which will be the National focus for research into how we decarbonise and make resilient our Transport Infrastructure.  

“The hub will engage widely to bring together the leading academics from across the UK and their civic and industry partners so we can focus on understanding the underpinning science and engineering to enable us to tackle these real challenges and provide the models that will help us understand the impact and find the most appropriate solutions.”

Professor Roberto Palacin, Professor of Transport Futures and Director of Mechanical Engineering and Marine Technology, Newcastle University, added:

“DARe is testament to the long tradition and expertise that Newcastle University and our partners have in critical infrastructure, transport systems, urban science, human behaviour and data science to name but a few.

“We are excited to be able to work with the wider community of academics, civic partners and other stakeholders to contribute to a transformational shift in understanding, imagining, and deploying transport infrastructures across scales in the face of the climate crisis challenge. Personally, I’m incredibly proud to have the opportunity to work with such a talented group of colleagues across all four institutions and to be able to make a difference.”

The national hub has been shaped in consultation with our multiple civic partners in North East and North West England, Northumberland, Cambridgeshire & Heartland and Scotland.

Researchers will also launch an open-source platform, opening the data to policymakers, local authorities and the frontline of transport systems.

Adapted with thanks from UKRI.

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