TRL Limited, trading as TRL, and colloquially known as the Transport Research Laboratory, is a fully independent private company offering a transport consultancy and research service to the public and private sector. Originally established in 1933, by the UK Government as the Road Research Laboratory (RRL), it was privatised in 1996. Its motto or tagline is 'The Future of Transport'.
|Private company limited by guarantee|
|Industry||Automotive transport, roads, engineering, insurance, urban environment, rail travel, motorsport|
|Predecessors||Road Research Laboratory (RRL), then|
Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)
|Founded||1933, in Harmondsworth, West Drayton, Greater London, United Kingdom|
as the Road Research Laboratory
Nine Mile Ride,
|Rob Wallis (Chief Executive Officer)|
|Products||Various transport related items, including software, legform impactors, safety certification rigs|
|Services||Engineering, research, consultancy, testing, certification, training, software development|
|Owner||Transport Research Foundation|
Number of employees
TRL was originally established in 1933 by the UK Government as the Road Research Laboratory (RRL) under the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), and later became the Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL) in 1972.
During the Second World War, the Laboratory contributed to the war effort. Among its contributions, under William Glanville, were research that aided the development of plastic armour, the bouncing bomb and the Disney bomb.
With the encouragement of the UK Department of Transport, TRRL was instrumental in promoting cooperation with other European laboratories. In 1989, TRRL's initiative to create a Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories led to its hosting of the inaugural meeting.
TRL is based in Crowthorne, Berkshire, with additional offices across the UK including Scotland, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, and Didcot. TRL also has offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Qatar, and India, and operates in 145 countries.
TRL's key areas of work include road, network and vehicle safety; traffic management; planning and control; investigations and risk management; transport infrastructure; and environmental assessment, including work on climate change, noise and air pollution.
The extensive Crowthorne site has been substantially scaled back, with many of the original buildings disused, creating an opportunity for redevelopment. In 2012, Bracknell Council has identified the original site as a strategic area, suitable for a new mini-town of 1,000 homes.
To maintain its commercial independence and impartiality, TRL is owned by the Transport Research Foundation (TRF), a non-profit distributing foundation, overseen by 80 sector members from the transport industry. The TRF is classed as a non-profit distributing organisation (NPDO), a form of business structure where all profits are reinvested in services or business growth, rather than being distributed to shareholders. TRL's profits are invested in its own research programmes, selected by the TRF to enhance knowledge in critical areas such as safety, environmental impact and sustainable development.
Plans to privatise the Transport Research Laboratory have been criticised by the Commons Transport Select Committee. The MPs said they could not recommend privatisation of the TRL until there was 'much more convincing evidence that the laboratory's independence and expertise will not thereby be sacrificed'.