The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) is a transportation consultancy, established in 1933 by the UK Government as the Road Research Laboratory (RRL), subsequently also known as the Transport and Road Research Laboratory. It developed considerable expertise across a wide range of vehicle and infrastructure issues. Over more than seventy years, it has had a considerable influence on the design and operation of roads and vehicles in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
In 1996 as part of the then-Government’s privatisation policy, TRL became an independent company.
TRL is owned by the Transport Research Foundation (TRF), a non-profit distributing foundation overseen by 80 sector members from the transport industry. Profits from TRL are invested in its own research programmes selected by the TRF to enhance knowledge in areas such as safety, environmental impact and sustainable development.
TRL has many research projects in progress including new ways of spotting road edge deterioration to increase the life of roads, in which the help of cyclists has been informally enlisted (finding sites with significant road-edge deterioration). Previous self-funded programmes have included a computer model of the heart to provide insight into how it behaves in high deceleration impacts, such as those found in motorsport and high-speed highway accidents. It has also developed tools that are now helping to provide a more detailed insight into vehicle occupant kinematics.
TRL recently opened a new £40 million Research Centre at its technical facility in Crowthorne, Berkshire, UK. It combines many of the facilities previously distributed across the site, together with new facilities.