The Transport Research Institute (TRI)

Centre Overview

Research Approach | Teaching Methods | Our Impact | Research Groups |

The Transport Research Institute (TRI) has been serving Scotland and the UK since 1996. It has an established reputation for research, consultancy and teaching in Transport Policy, Planning and Engineering. For historical reasons, the Transport Research Innovation Centre (TRIC) inherits the name and currently operates under the branding TRI to avoid confusion during interactions with external agencies. It has an established reputation for research, consultancy and teaching in Transport Policy, Planning and Engineering. TRI has contributed to the recent university REF results and continues to maintain a high rate of Journal publications, books, and Public dissemination activities. The centre consults and actively researches for Government, Industry and Inclusive groups representing the Scottish and UK population. TRI is part of the School of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment (SCEBE), and is currently based on the E floor of the Merchiston Campus at Edinburgh Napier.

Post-pandemic, TRI has included low-carbon transportation and new technology solutions for the future of UK transport and city solutions as part of its thematic focus. TRI is also engaged with industry in Electric and Autonomous Vehicle research, such as the CAVForth Project, and the Future Flyer 3, HEART consortium. HEART is working with the ground-breaking company ZEROAVIA on electric-engines, hydrogen power, and aviation as a service opportunity for sub-regional transport.

The reputation of the TRI brand is well established, and the primary aim of our new research centre is to continue this development of research, innovation, and influence; in public, governance and planning, at both a national and international level. Under the new Director, Professor Pat Langdon, further integration of the multidisciplinary facets of transport will bring together: AI, Carbon sustainability, Data modelling, Robotics, Civil engineering and Cities design to innovate future solutions for the UK’s needs.

Research Approach

The potential for high impact research at the new TRI centre is growing as transport policy, technology; the built environment, and health issues are all critically related to current political agendas, especially Climate Change. After a Horizon sighting consultation in 2021, TRI formulated a three year plan under the Universities new centres strategy, where the following themes were identified:

For more information relating to these areas and to collaborate with the centre on them, please contact the academic listed above. With current changes to the climate, and emergent new technologies driving innovation in Transportation into multidisciplinary engineering. This requires projects that utilise and integrate both: behavioural, legislative and policy; and the latest technology developments, often converging on the context in future cities. To tackle this challenge, the new TRI will drive activities in two main areas; bringing technology innovation together with health, policy and planning. On this basis the TRI will align its key areas of activity with Scottish and UK funding council priorities, as well as industrial innovation. A core pillar of the TRI approach is to feed-back innovative research into improving our teaching, generating new opportunities for staff retention and career development.

Teaching Methods

Following an increase to research funding, TRI will be able to upscale its renowned and highly effective teaching programmes. Alongside masters’ courses and significant CPD courses specific to transport, TRI aims to increase the number of interdisciplinary PhDs secured from industry, funding bodies and through internal and external collaboration. This will benefit research in the Schools and the University, providing a greater weight of staff for teaching, with further capacity for development of the TRI centre to an up-scaled institution capable of supporting undergraduate courses, collaborating with industry, and as a target for research funding.

Our Impact

The combination of accumulating expertise and research objectivity means that we will be in a stronger position to provide research based, rigorous and reliable analysis and consultancy to help inform decisions and develop more effective policies. TRI will focus on applied research, increasingly with governance and industry partnerships, realising real world applications of our work. TRI will also plan and work to research at a strategic level with European research programmes, as well as national and local research organisations and governments around the world.

TRI regularly organises events such as conferences and themed workshops (most recently to mark the 25th anniversary of its establishment). In addition, TRI regularly holds an international EV conference (Auto & Aviation) and will hold another event in 2023. TRI members have also been involved in a considerable number of other events, appearances, talks and consultation that have occurred between 2019-2022.

The latest addition to our research centre is the TRI Driving Simulator, which was obtained by Professor Pat Langdon and commissioned in early 2021. This technology will provide a platform for significant research bids by the TRI centre in collaboration with SCEBE and the other Schools at Edinburgh Napier. Current simulator projects include experiments on virtual street crossings, a VR suite for Aviation building design, and Human factors research on cycling design.

We aim to be a competitive and innovative research organisation with existing funding from UK research councils including Innovate UK grants, Scottish Government grants as well as various industry stakeholders. These and several EU funded projects, are driving new funding bids for future income, as well as high quality academic outputs; teaching; and high impact deliverables. Our members are actively providing consultation and research while maintaining contact and collaborations with more than 30 Industrial collaborators and trade bodies.

The Transport Research Institute is open to collaboration for Transport consultancy, research, and for obtaining research funding. We also have numerous teaching courses including CPD. If you want to stay up-to-date with TRI, please click this link to see the official blog page.

The CAVForth Project: A Revolution in Public Bus Transportation
The Hydrogen Electric and Automated Regional Transportation (HEART) Project

Our Research Groups

Transport Policy Research Group