Celebrating five years of Coventry University’s National Transport Design Centre

Wednesday 15 June 2022

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The National Transport Design Centre (NTDC) is celebrating five years of delivering research and innovation to create transport solutions of the future.

The NTDC specialises in putting users at the heart of the design process to ensure that emerging transport systems are accessible to all and a pleasure to use.

The NTDC is part of the Centre for Future Transport and Cities which is at the forefront of mobility innovation and uses cutting-edge, applied research to develop solutions for the next generation of transport in a rapidly changing, technology-enabled world.

The NTDC is located on Coventry University’s Technology Park and is housed in an 1800-metre-squared facility that has state-of-the-art equipment. This includes a 6-metre wide immersive ‘power wall’ which allows researchers to explore detailed design concepts in virtual reality, a driving simulator, a 15m clay milling facility and a multitude of other modelling technologies. The centre is a hive of activity that brings together research students and academic staff members who bring years of industry experience.

Since its inception, NTDC researchers have forged the way forward in designing the user centric experiences in emergent transport systems and have worked with some of the biggest names in the transport sector. This has involved:

  • Using advanced Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality techniques to shape the passenger experience of the Air One – a first-of-its-kind urban airport that was constructed in Coventry this year.
  • Designed a pandemic-proof car of the future, analysed the effect of listening to music while driving and have helped to demonstrate the technical viability of wireless charging for electric taxis.
  • Worked with Paralympic GB’s Para Nordic athletes to help design their sit-skis for the Beijing 2022 Paralympics. This involved using cutting edge pressure mapping technology to measure the variations in pressure experienced by the athletes when using their sit-skis. By identifying high and low-pressure areas of contact, revised designs were proposed that would optimise the fit between the athlete and their bespoke skis.
  • Collaborating with Motability, a national disability charity, to recruit and sponsor PhD students to undertake research into accessible transport. The collaboration combines Coventry University’s strong tradition of design transport teaching and Motability’s objective to support and develop innovative solutions to meet the evolving transportation needs of people with disabilities.

Over the past five years, the National Transport Design Centre has become a focal point for research-driven solutions in automotive, rail, marine and aerospace disciplines.

Set up with the support of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, our research projects and collaborations with industry demonstrate the potential for safe, efficient and accessible transport systems of the future.

Kevin Vincent, Director of the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Automotive Research

It’s satisfying to be able to reflect upon the amazing progress made by the NTDC in its first five years and to build upon this in our exciting future human centred design work.

Paul Herriotts, Professor of Transport Design

Here at the NTDC, our impactful academic research - either conducted in collaboration with our industry partners or more ‘blue-sky’ research with our doctorates - is always at the forefront of human factors research in future transport.

Stewart Birrell, Professor of Transport Design

Find out more about Coventry University’s National Transport Design Centre, part of the Centre for Future Transport and Cities.