National Transport Design Centre

National Transport Design Centre

The National Transport Design Centre (NTDC) is a state-of-the-art facility operating within the Centre for Future Transport and Cities. Located at the university's Technology Park, the NTDC explores the future of transport design amidst a rapidly evolving mobility sector, identifying novel applications for both new and existing technologies.

Visualisation of Project eVX, a user-centred eVTOL concept design.

Visualisation of Project eVX, a user-centred eVTOL concept design.

About the centre

Established in May 2017, the NTDC is concerned with exploring the future of transport design. The Centre draws upon Coventry University’s proud heritage as a School of Design, established in 1843.

The NTDC operates in a cross-disciplinary manner, bringing together designers, Human Factors specialists, psychologists and technologists, to support research into a variety of fields:

  • Human Factors in Future Transport
  • Design Ergonomics
  • Accessibility
  • Passenger Experience and Design
  • Driver, Bicycle and Pedestrian Simulation
  • Virtual and Mixed Reality
  • Inclusive design
  • Biomechanics and Comfort

The NTDC benefits from the university’s access to experts across these disciplines. The Centre draws expertise from both doctoral research students and academic staff members, many of whom bring years of industry experience. The NTDC’s focus on disruptive transport solutions is all the more applicable amidst the important development of sustainable transport, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) and shared mobility.

The Centre employs a particular focus on user-centred design. Experts at the NTDC see the current state of change within the mobility industry as a great opportunity to ensure that transport solutions of the future are better equipped to serve the needs of a diverse population, by asking the questions that are often overlooked: for example, how can we ensure that disabled people gain maximum benefit from the push for autonomous transport?

The NTDC has a long track record of successful collaboration with a range of partners across the transport sector and is always interested in exploring new strategic relationships.

Whether you are from the academic community, a representative of industry or purely interested in the future of transport design, the team at the NTDC looks forward to welcoming you onto our journey towards more inclusive mobility.

Watch more NTDC videos on our video gallery.

NTDC Video Gallery


The 1800 m2 NTDC is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, including:

  • A 6m interactive power wall which allows users to explore detailed design and engineering concepts in virtual reality
  • Advanced clay milling facilities for creating physical models of vehicles
  • A projection mapping system which can cast digital images onto 3D objects below, helping designers to assess how multiple options would appear on full-scale models
  • A driving simulator (driver in the loop)
  • A mixed reality buck
  • Wearable devices for creating virtual, augmented and mixed reality environments
  • Precision CNC milling machines for scale model creation
  • A range of 3D printing technologies
  • Large bed graphics printers
  • Structured white-light 3D scanning for reverse engineering

Our team

Design Ergonomics
Name Email
Paul Herriotts (Professor of Transport Design)
James Shippen (Associate Professor)
Barbara May (Assistant Professor)
Tugra Erol (Research Fellow)
Geoff Le Good (Associate Professor)
Dean Mangurenje (Senior Design Technician)
Jamie Swinfield (NTDC Technical Officer)
Ryan Lewis (Digital Modelling and Visualisation Specialist)

Human Factors

Name Email
Stewart Birrell (Professor of Transport Design)
William Payre (Assistant Professor)
Karthik Ekambaram (Research Fellow)
Allison Duncan (Research Fellow on SIMUSAFE)
Craig Clarke (Senior Technician on SIMUSAFE)
Arun Ulahannan (Research Fellow WiCET)


Work with us

The NTDC has a strong track record of working with business in a variety of ways including secondments, internships, student’s projects, funded knowledge transfer programme, funded collaborative research and direct consultancy.

The NTDC has supported businesses by offering:

  • Applied research to support product development
  • Access to staff expertise and student skills
  • Subsidised training
  • Access to funding

The NTDC has the ability to respond to briefs which may range from the tightly specified, with hard deliverables and timelines, to more loosely specified ‘what-if’ scenarios where the outcomes and timelines may be variable. We aim to understand what a business need is and provide the most suitable and appropriate delivery method for the problem.

The NTDC respects the need for client confidentiality and we are therefore unable to comment on many of our specific projects. We would therefore encourage interested parties to get in touch to discuss their requirements further.

  • The NTDC is open to providing organisations deliverables through specific, industrially experienced staff members identified for their particular expertise against specific briefs from our clients.

  • The NTDC is partnering with regional and national businesses to increase their competitiveness, productivity and performance. We can offer jointly funded collaborative partnerships enabling the embedding of new knowledge and the delivery of solutions, which are led by business and supported by university expertise.

  • These offer a short term 3 - 6 month focused and cost effective way that takes advantage of:

    • A focused scope of work
    • Well defined deliverables
    • The opportunity to assess future graduates and their suitability for an organisation
  • At Masters and Doctoral level, researchers can be sponsored by single companies or a small number of companies collaboratively. A ‘Masters by Research’ (MRes) for example, could provide a useful vehicle for companies to allow staff to focus on a specific topic or challenge intensively, outside of the normal demands of the working environment, and could lead on to a Design Doctorate.

Case study: showcasing a post-pandemic transport solution

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused mass disruption across the world, with the transport sector being particularly badly affected. Professor Paul Herriotts led a team at the NTDC to answer the question of what 'pandemic-proof' transport might look like, taking into account scientific knowledge that has come to light as international experts turn their attention towards COVID-19.

The resulting design draws inspiration from a range of areas, including Japanese Shoji screens, incorporating innovative ideas such as the use of antiviral materials and UV light treatment to ensure cleanliness.

This approach is typical of the NTDC's approach to solving key challenges by utilising the expertise and facilities at the Centre's disposal.

Centre for Future Transport and Cities

Find out more about the research centre.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021