Leicester, one of the oldest cities in England, creeps into history as an early Roman military outpost in a land populated by Celtic tribes. The Romans eventually quit England in the early part of the fifth century but they left their mark via an extensive road system. Leicester continued to grow as a market town, although it was the Industrial Revolution that facilitated a process of rapid, unplanned urbanization in the area. A newly constructed rail and canal network routed through the area stimulated industrial growth in the 19th century, and Leicester became a major economic center.
Today, the Leicester area is the 10th most populated settlement in the U.K. but also considered one of the most congested areas in the country. The city is served by both the M1 and M6 motorways, the Midland Main Line railway and two bus stations.
The new, three-year project, funded by the European Commission, will invest about $3.7 million to support scientists, engineers and development agencies from the different regions to work together using the latest space and information technologies. The goal is to develop more effective methods of easing road congestion and improving the urban environment. The researchers, led by University of Leicester and Leicester City Council, will be working with research clusters from the Molise region in Italy, the Midi-Pyrenees and Aquitaine regions in France and the Mazovia region in Poland.