Research Contract UK Vehicle Registration Plates

Research Contract UK Vehicle Registration Plates

Literature Review of Readability of UK Vehicle Registration Plates as a Function of Character Spacing.

Reference number: HOS/12/012

Deadline date:03/09/2012

This deadline is for… Submitting proposals

Contract value:£20,000 – £30,000

Location where the contract is to be carried out: Horsham Services may be carried out at Contractor’s premises

Is this suitable for smaller suppliers? Yes

Is this contract suitable for a voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations? No

Name of the buying organisation: HOS – Home Office Science


Description of the contract

The Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology invites expressions of interest for a study into the effects of the spacing between characters on the readability of the vehicle registration mark (VRM) on UK number plates by human observers and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems. In particular evidence is sought regarding whether non-standard character spacing as commonly found on ‘cherished’ plates affects the ability of ANPR systems to accurately read the plate, and also whether it affects human ability to read and remember the registration plate correctly, for example if witnessed at the scene of an accident. The scope of this work includes an examination of both the spacing between individual characters and the spacing between distinct groups of characters as found on current UK VRMs. It is also relevant to examine whether ANPR performance / human readability is affected by an expectation that the characters will be grouped in a standard combination of numbers and letters (e.g. AB12 CDE or A123 BCD as per the UK standard). The current font and character size used on UK VRMs is prescribed in The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001. Changes in font, character size and colour (of characters and background) are out of scope of this study. This work will be divided into two work packages for human and ANPR dependencies. The task of both work packages will be to conduct comprehensive literature reviews of the effect of VRM character spacing on human observation, ANPR performance and measurement methodologies. Depending on the outcome from these literature reviews it is possible that this work will continue into experimental studies of any effects, where the Home Office may issue a further Invitation To Tender. Formal bids are now invited from potential suppliers who would be able to deliver such literature reviews. The Home Office welcomes bids from academic groups and relevant research organisations. Owing to the distinct difference in the literature reviews tenders for each the individual work packages are encouraged. Bids from a consortia addressing the work packages individually or collectively are welcome.


Classification of the contract

73000000 Research and development services and related consultancy services


Additional information

Contract type: Services – Unspecified

Is it a framework agreement? No

Is this contract related to a programme of funding? No

Contract will be awarded based on: Most economically advantageous tender in terms of: The criteria stated in the contract documents

Estimated length of contract: 20/09/2012 – 17/10/2012


Who to contact

Contact name David Glennie

Organisation name HOS – Home Office Science

Address 2 Marsham Street, London, UK, SW1P 4DF

Telephone 02070353268

Extension number:


Web address


How to apply

Please see attached document