Autumn Statement 2014: what it means for motorists

George Osborne announces £15 billion road upgrades plus driverless car details in the 2014 Autumn Statement

Budget 2016: what it means for motorists

Plans for the first trials of driverless cars in the UK, set to begin in January, were revealed by George Osborne in the Autumn Statement.

A UK consortium made up of Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Coventry Council, Milton Keynes Council, AXA and the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and the Open University, have won the Government's £10 million 'Introducing driverless cars,' competition.

This will see a semi-autonomous Range Rover vehicle being tested on the road in Milton Keynes and Coventry. Jaguar Land Rover will also help develop and evaluate lightweight self-driving pods designed for pedestrian spaces in real-world trials. Other trials are set to take place in Bristol and London, though there is no detail on who will lead this.

More on the UK Autodrive self-driving car consortium

£15bn road upgrade programme

The £15 billion upgrades to Britain's roads, announced earlier this week, was again highlighted by the Chancellor, while there was little else for Britain's motorists to celebrate from the announcement. Osborne also revealed that fuel duty would remain frozen, too. 

The plans for the road spending had been previously announced and included measures to help tackle 100 of the most notorious traffic hotspots in England. These include building a tunnel at Stonehenge in order to try and ease congestion on the A303.

Under the plans there will also be 1,300 new lane miles added in a bid to cut traffic time, while £1.5 billion will be used to create an extra lane on key motorways to turn them into smart motorways.

Petrol price signs on motorways

The Government also revealed that it will press ahead with plans to introduce signs on motorways that display the price of fuel at service stations, in a bid to help competition and lower fuel prices. 

Trials of the new fuel comparison sites will begin early next year for five service stations on the M5 between Bristol and Exeter. If successful, the plan is to have the signs introduced across the rest of the country by the end of 2015.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: "For too long drivers have been ripped off by petrol prices on motorways. This government wants to support the hardworking people of Britain and build a fairer society."

Ultra low emissions vehicle fund

Buried in the Autumn Statement document were further details regarding ultra low emission vehicles, including an £85 million fund to support ultra-low emission taxis, buses and cities.

There will also be up to £50 million offered between 2017-18 and 2019-20 to support innovation in manufacturing of ultra-low emission vehicles in the UK, based on a government contribution of £25 million with the other half supplied by the industry.

What do you think of the plans announced in the autumn statement? Will they be enough to get your vote in the 2015 General Election? Let us know in the comments section below...

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