Transport for London (TfL) is to spend up to £30m examining new technologies to improve road services and cut congestion in the capital.

Over the next four years TfL will consider radio frequency identification (RFID) and satellite navigation to support the congestion charge and road pricing plans, advanced enforcement cameras and new traffic management systems.

The organisation plans to appoint a number of consultants to advise on new technologies that could be used on the road network, says a TfL spokeswoman.

‘It will allow us to request specific advice or research into the technical capabilities of new technology,’ she said.

TfL wants to examine mobile technologies such as 3G, WiFi and WiMax, vehicle and pedestrian tracking systems, and number plate recognition systems.

Intelligent technology could be the answer to major congestion problems in London, says Gartner analyst Mike Williams.

‘More intelligent systems could help create a more efficient road network and ensure the smooth flow of traffic through London’s streets,’ he said.

Williams says £30m is a large amount of money to allocate to consideration of new systems, but it is crucial because technology moves at such a fast pace.

‘Investing in technology to best develop an efficient transport system is something that TfL should have done years ago,’ he said.

Traffic in London has returned to the same levels as before the congestion charge, says Tim Shallcross, head of technical policy at the IAM Motoring Trust.

‘Technology is part of the answer and things such as satellite navigation can make the system more accurate,’ he said.