SPECTATOR: Sustainable, Integrated, Optimised Electrification and Automation of Transportation Networks

Funding: North-South Research Programme, HEA Ireland (2023-25)

Reduction of transport-related emissions is a priority response to the challenges of climate change while electrification has been identified as essential for the transition to low-carbon mobility.  The adoption of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) and Electric Vehicle (EV) technologies has the potential to bring transformative change to society in terms of well-being and economic growth through improved journey times and productivity, reliable, safer, and environmentally friendly transport services. 

The SPECTATOR project aims at providing a systematic approach to the gradual deployment of CAVs, EVs, smart physical and digital road infrastructures. The project will leverage the capabilities of individual CAV to control traffic in a transport network to support the European strategy of implementation of effective Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS).

The outputs of this project will culminate into a design tool for supporting transition to integrated, sustainable electrification of transportation in Ireland considering the all-island network. The SPECTATOR project will contribute to deliver the key transport-related priorities of the Climate Action Plan in Ireland and will support cross-border social inclusion, through improved social mobility and sustained economic growth. Furthermore, this project will enhance research excellence and innovation capabilities, enabling to capitalise on the emerging transport technologies and services and put the island at the forefront of mobility innovation.   

Funding Agency



Work Packages

WP1: Traffic Flow Modelling & Simulation Considering Electric & Autonomous Vehicles

WP1-O1: Development of physics-based traffic flow models for traffic stream composed of legacy vehicles, CAV and EV, which will be parametrised utilising available traffic data from ROI and NI transport networks.

WP1-O2:  Assess the impacts of the mixed flow of CAVs, EVs and legacy vehicles on the efficiency of road networks.

WP2: Control of Transportation Networks Using Connected Autonomous Vehicles

WP2-O1:  To leverage the capability of CAVs to control traffic flow to improve road networks efficiency across the island of Ireland

WP2-O1:  To develop an optimised, cost-efficient transport network design considering control & penetration by CAVs

WP3: Optimal Design of Infrastructure to Support Transition to Electric & Autonomous Vehicle

WP3-O1: Devise optimal strategies to upgrade transport infrastructures on both sides of the border to facilitate the transition to CAVs and EVs

WP3-O2: Establish community engagement in improving EV infrastructure in rural and border communities

Project Team

Bidisha Ghosh

Dr Bidisha Ghosh (PI), Associate Professor, Trinity College Dublin

Chair of the Irish Transport Research Network (ITRN) and Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at Trinity College Dublin. She leads the research group, QUANT. She is an expert of natural system behaviour prediction using statistical methods, time-series modelling, artificial intelligence algorithms, sustainable transportation, and health impact assessment of active travel. She has published over 120 peer-reviewed journal and conference articles. She is the PI of several national and European research projects and has received €1.5 million in research funding.

Salissou Moutari

Dr. Salissou Moutari (Lead investigator - Northern Ireland), Senior Lecturer, Queens University Belfast

Senior lecturer within the School of Mathematics and Physics, QUB. He has extensive experience in mathematical modelling, machine learning and statistical analysis. His research concerned the development of mathematical model of traffic flow on road networks and road safety assessment. Prior to joining  QUB, Dr. Moutari was a Research Fellow at Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis (France) and at TU Kaiserslautern (Germany), respectively. Ne was a one of the investigators of the research project ACI-NIM N195, funded by the French Research Council. The aims of this project, which involved Mathematicians, Civil Engineers, and Physicists, were to foster interactions between mathematics and other disciplines and to develop techniques and tools for realistic modelling of traffic flow on road networks. Dr. Moutari was also a co- investigator for the research project KEC- DASMM, funded by the German Research Council, during which he developed mathematical models for analysing road network systems design. Dr. Moutari introduced a macroscopic framework for modeling overtaking maneuvers and road traffic collisions on highways. Recently, Dr Moutari was the co-investigator of the EPSRC grant (EP/M017877/1), which aims to devise a new method for driver crash risk estimation using statistical data. Ne is also the recipient of the Invest Northern Ireland Proof-of-Concept grant (PoC 421) for the development of a software package for network visualisation of complex data using state-of-the- art Machine Learning Techniques.

Vikram Pakrashi

Dr. Vikram Pakrashi (BEng, PhD, CEng. MIEI, MASCE), Associate Professor, University College Dublin

Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Director of Dynamical Systems and Risk Laboratory (DSRL) in UCD. Vikram is a Chartered Engineer and has served both industry and academia working on numerical and experimental applications of dynamics and risk/probabilistic analysis on traditional (roads, bridges) and bourgeoning (wind/wave energy devices and platforms) sectors of built infrastructure. Several of his projects are partly funded by the industrial sector. His recent research activities involve structural health monitoring, analysis of dynamic systems, vibration control, experimental methods in dynamics, damage detection algorithms and the use of new technologies for such applications. Vikram has supervised and mentored several doctoral and postdoctoral researchers and has received multiple awards for his research and leadership activities. He currently works with a dynamic and motivated team in DSRL close to industrial needs. Vikram is open for collaborations and participation in relevant funding calls.

Christine Buisson

Dr. Christine Buisson Senior Researcher, Université Gustave Eiffel

Traffic Flow Researcher since 1993. She is now a Senior Researcher with the Institut français des sciences et technologies des transports, de l'aménagement et des réseaux (formerly Institut national de recherche sur les transports et leur sécurité). She also teaches at the École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État, member of Université de Lyon, Lyon, France. Her research interests include macro- and micromodeling of traffic flow and experimental validation of models. She is presently responsible for a French traffic data collection project MOCoPo (Measuring and mOdeling traffic COngestion and POllution).,Dr. Buisson is a member of the Traffic Flow Theory and Characteristics Committee of the Transportation Research Board.

Dr Vinayak Devendra Malaghan Research Fellow, Trinity College Dublin

Postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering at Trinity College Dublin. He earned Joint Doctoral Degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad and Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. During his doctoral and postdoctoral research studies, he got introduced to and consequently developed interest and expertise in multiple research areas, i.e., geometric design, driver behaviour, NDS, traffic operations and safety, data science, statistical methods, machine learning, road safety and CAVs.


Dr. Timilehin Oeyemi Alakoya Research Fellow, Queen’s University Belfast.

Research interests are in the areas of traffic flow modelling and fixed point theory with applications to real world problems such as image processing, machine learning, radiation therapy, signal processing, etc



Ranganath Belagumba Ramachandra

Ranganath Belagumba Ramachandra, PhD Student, Trinity College Dublin

PhD student in the Civil Structural and Environmental Engineering department, at Trinity College Dublin. He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research – Tirupati with a master's in physics. His research interests are Traffic systems, network science and other complex systems. His research experience revolves around modelling complex physical systems with nonlinear dynamical units. He also has expertise in data management and Deep learning.   


Yvian Redon

Yvian Redon

Master's student in transport engineering at ENTPE, Lyon, France. He joined as an intern in the School of Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering at Trinity College Dublin.