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Image of Professor Lord Robert Mair

Cambridge Autonomous Metro delivery to be chaired by Professor Lord Robert Mair

World-renowned engineer, Emeritus Fellow and former College Master, Professor Lord Robert Mair, has been appointed chair of the delivery company for a new metro-style travel network for Cambridge.

The Cambridge Autonomous Metro (CAM) is a Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority project. It plans to create a new public transport system with four regional routes connecting St Neots, Alconbury, Mildenhall and Haverhill with Cambridge. New underground tunnels and stations under the city of Cambridge are planned, along with major interchange hubs at the city centre and Cambridge railway station.

Professor Mair has advised on numerous civil engineering projects worldwide, specialising in underground construction – his principal research interest. He introduced the novel technique of compensation grouting in the UK for controlling settlement of structures during tunnel construction. This was widely used on the London Underground Jubilee Line extension to protect many historic buildings, including the Big Ben clocktower - the Elizabeth Tower - at the Palace of Westminster. The technique has since been applied in cities worldwide. 

Professor Mair has been involved in the design and construction of the HS1 rail project and the London Crossrail programme. He is currently advising on design and construction aspects of HS2 and has been an adviser on major underground construction projects around the world.

Announcing the appointment, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer, said: “With Professor Mair as board chair, we have someone who is globally recognised as being at the very cutting edge of advanced infrastructure delivery. With his Cambridge roots, I could not think of anyone better to be the first chair of our delivery body tasked with delivering an innovative, world-leading public transport network for our region.

Professor Mair said: “I grew up, went to school and graduated in Cambridge, returning to the University in 1998 after 27 years in industry. With this background I have a very strong affection and affiliation with this great city and the region.

“The vision for CAM is exciting. A flexible, innovative system will be essential in creating the better transport future the region needs and deserves, while also delivering the decarbonised journeys needed to help safeguard the environment. The unprecedented effects of a global pandemic have also caused a significant shift in how people travel, which must also be factored into any new transport scheme.”

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