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Milton Keynes embraces driverless cars

Milton Keynes is a fast growing city set to double in size over the next twenty years and due to become one of the top ten science cities in the UK.

Traffic congestion however may thwart this ambition, says the Council's Head of Transport, Brian Matthews, as currently 40% of the city is given over to cars with 25,000 car parking spaces available to drivers.

Brian will be speaking at our Future Cities Forum on sustainable cities this March. He has been working for the Council since 1997. This year he has taken up a role leading on the development and delivery of the Council's programme of transport innovation. This builds on Brian's experience of managing the delivery of the city's Electric Bus Project which was the UK's first fully electric bus service. Brian has also worked alongside the Automotive Council and the Transport Systems Catapult to help develop the low carbon urban transport zone in Milton Keynes which has provided the foundation for the autonomous pod project and the driverless cars programme, perhaps the largest and most complex trial within the UK.

Milton Keynes is about to finish an 18 month test phase on a track for driverless cars which will now be put into a real city environment. The cars have performed well on the programme and will be fully integrated into the city in October 2017.

This is part of a 20 million pound project co-funded by government and industry. Coventry is the other city in the test. The aim is to increase capacity and use vehicles more intelligently. A shared ownership vehicle model will be a goal - the Important element of the scheme is to improve mobility and reduce single occupancy of cars.

There is also a project to develop 40 driverless pods which will use pavements therefore achieving levels of connectivity never seen before in cities.

It is a significant and sad reality of our current and future cities that cyber attacks are an ever present threat. The banking sector often described as the engine room of our cities around the world is as vulnerable as other business. EY's ....Steve Holt, who is speaking at our forum, says the real problem is that companies just are not ready with a risk plan to outwit attacks.....

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