January's top stories: Traffic updates by Google Maps, US proposes $4bn for automated vehicles
Google Maps provides traffic updates to Edinburgh bus and tram passengers, Obama's FY17 budget proposes nearly $4bn for automated vehicles, and Highways England proposes new road link across River Thames. Roadtraffic-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from January 2016.
Transport for Edinburgh partnered with Google to provide access to real-time service information on Google Maps to passengers of Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams in Scotland.
This is claimed to be the first-ever real-time service provided to the people of Scotland.
Desktop and smartphone apps of Google Maps will now use real-time predictions to offer exact directions between places in the city, after considering delays and diversions. Live updates will also be provided on every bus and tram in the city's fleet.
Highways England in the UK revealed plans to construct a multibillion pound road link across the River Thames between Essex and Kent.
The new road link would run from the end of the M2, crossing the river east of Gravesend and Tilbury and join the M25 between Junctions 29 and 30.
Since the Queen Elizabeth II bridge opened at Dartford more than two decades ago, this will be the first new crossing of the Thames east of London.
The Indian Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is seeking a soft loan of Rs130bn ($1.9bn) from multilateral agencies for road projects, which it intends to develop under its National Highway Development Project (NHDP).
The ministry has sought for a Rs60bn ($880m) long-term untied loan from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to fund a part of its NHDP programme, reported The Economic Times, citing sources.
A soft loan from JICA would mean that India would have to pay an interest rate of 0.5% for a period of more than 25 years, reported Live Mint.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) offered a €160m ($174m) loan to fund the construction of a 33km-long motorway section in Bavaria, Southern Germany.
Connecting Pastetten with Heldenstein, the four-lane motorway section will be part of the A94 project.
The road project aims at improving traffic flow between Munich and Linz, Austria.
Transport for London (TfL) in the UK invested £200m in bus priority schemes to speed up travel times for passengers in the city.
The new bus priority schemes involve changes to road layouts and junctions and small changes in routes to allow buses avoid areas with maximum traffic.
Around 50 bus priority schemes were already delivered across London last year, while another 116 will be delivered by the end of April.
Ford announced plans to add 20 third-generation Fusion Hybrid autonomous vehicles (AVs) with the aim of tripling its fleet of self-driving test vehicles.
As part of its smart mobility plan, the addition of the new fleet will increase the number of vehicles to 30 that are being tested on roads in the states of Arizona, California, and Michigan.
Ford executive vice-president, global product development and chief technical officer Raj Nair said: "Using the most advanced technology and expanding, our test fleet are clear signs of our commitment to make autonomous vehicles available for millions of people.
US President Obama indicated the government's intention to invest in a 21st century transportation system in his last State of the Union address.
Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx revealed that almost $4bn will be invested over a period of ten years to expedite the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation through real-world pilot projects as part of the president's FY17 budget proposal.
Foxx also stated that the US Department of Transportation is eliminating any potential roadblocks in the way of integration of innovative, transformational automotive technology that can bolster safety, mobility and sustainability.
UK-based generator specialist Dieselec Thistle Generators (DTG) supplied 12 400kVA generators for the new Queensferry Crossing project that connects Fife and Edinburgh in Scotland.
The generators have been installed on the main bridge plinths and will operate in three bands of four, which are synchronised to work in parallel and generate output of up to 1.6mVA once completely operational.
These generators supply the required power to all the towers.