Transport Research Laboratory

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TRL Limited
Private company limited by guarantee
Industry Automotive
Headquarters Wokingham, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Area served
Key people
Rob Wallis (Chief Executive)[1]
Products Various transport related items, including software, legform impactors, safety certification rigs
Services Research, consultancy, testing, certification, training, software development
Owner Transport Research Foundation
Number of employees
approx. 320[2]

TRL Limited, trading 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.[3]


TRL was originally established in 1933 by the UK Government as the Road Research Laboratory (RRL) under the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, and later became the Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL).

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.

In the 1970s, the TRRL moved from the Department of Trade and Industry to the Department of the Environment.[4]

At the TRRL, Frank Blackmore developed the mini-roundabout which was adopted in 1975.

It became an executive agency of the UK Department for Transport in 1992 and changed its name to Transport Research Laboratory (TRL). It was privatised in 1996, though plans were criticized at the time.[5]


TRL is based in Crowthorne, Berkshire, with additional offices in Scotland and Wales.

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.[6]

Corporate affairs[edit]

To maintain its commercial independence and impartiality, TRL is owned by the Transport Research Foundation, a non-profit distributing foundation overseen by 80 sector members from the transport industry.[7] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New CEO for TRL". TRL Limited. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Our Business". TRL Limited. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  3. ^ About TRL
  4. ^ Department code AT
  5. ^ "Commons Select Committee slams TRL privatisation plans". Contract Journal. 1994-03-24. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 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.' 
  6. ^ "Crowthorne Village Action Group". Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  7. ^ The TRF is classed as a Non profit distributing organisation, a form of business structure where all profits are reinvested in services or business growth rather than being distributed to shareholders.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°22′54″N 0°46′56″W / 51.3818°N 0.7823°W / 51.3818; -0.7823