The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has announced the creation of a new national hub for transport research.

The £7.75m UK Transport Research Centre (UKTRC) will be based at Imperial College London as well as University College London and the University of Leeds, and will draw on scientific experts from across the country.

UKTRC will undertake long and short-term research on some of the key big questions likely to face transport in the next decade and beyond, including economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability, society, mobility and accessibility and technology.

UK Transport Minister Andrew Adonis said that to deliver a first-class sustainable transport system, the country would need a first-class evidence base first.

“The research coming out of this new centre will be instrumental in ensuring Britain is at the forefront of new sustainable transport developments,” Adonis said.

Research will include the impact of Government investment in transport infrastructure and its effects on the labour market and the economy. Other projects will look at ways to improve governance and decision making in the transport system and predict how technological advances in different sectors might affect future transport demand.

Professor Ian Diamond, chief executive of the Economic and Social Research Council, who are joint funders, said that the counties transport system was the economic heart of the country.

“Providing a strong base of evidence to inform future government policy will be vital, not just to the economic recovery, but to all aspects of society,” said Diamond.

The UKTRC will be funded by the DfT (£5m), Economic and Social research Council (£2.5m) and the Scottish Government (£0.25m).

The UKTRC will carry out research in two streams: short-term policy relevant analysis and research aimed at informing immediate policy questions; and longer-term in-depth innovative research aimed at developing the evidence base to inform policy questions, dissemination and capacity building

Research is expected to start early in 2009.

By Daniel Garrun.