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Viewing the parking landscape with dynamic pricing - Future Cities Solutions SBRI competition phase two winners announced

The results of the second phase of the Future cities solutions SBRI competition - that offered £5m of overall funding to support solutions to energy, data and transportation challenges faced by UK cities - has recently been released by InnovateUK.

Four projects have been selected to each receive just under a million pounds, 100% funded, contract to test their solution in a real city environment.

The one transport related contract - or rather, mobility solution - has been awarded to Ethos Ethos VO, a Merstham, Surrey, based consultancy founded in 2010 by Robert Pye and Tony Clarke. It has been awarded a fiver short of £1 million to test out its Future Cities Parking Management Platform, a re-named iteration of its previous title under phase 1 the Collaborative parking solution project.


Competition to stimulate the market for innovative solutions to common issued faced by UK cities

The InnovateUK Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition Future Cities Solutions aimed to stimulate the market for innovative solutions to common challenges faced by cities, concentrating on issues that UK cities highlighted as their main concerns - relating to energy, data and transportation.

Cities will need to face up to big issues such as climate change, changes in population and demographics, congestion and healthcare, and pressures on resources.

The three challenges were:

  • Challenge 1: data platform for power and heat usage
  • Challenge 2: A city management platform to connect data sets and data sources
  • Challenge 3: a scalable, on-demand mobility solution to help employees or visitors reach businesses within a city

Sixteen demonstration projects, including five relating to transport, were supported with around £100,000 to test the value of their proposals for cities and citizens. The five most successful of these have now been selected for the development stage involving real-life ‘test bed’ cities.


The Future Cities Parking Management Platform

In it’s project description for its phase 2 project The Future Cities Parking Management Platform, Ethos VO stated it has assembled a collaborative team of SMEs, covering open data, linked data and parking sensor networks.

The challenge it sought to address in phase 1 was Challenge 3: a scalable, on-demand mobility solution to help employees or visitors reach businesses within a city.

In phase 2 it will seek to integrate these separate technologies, in order to deliver a ‘multi city, sensor agnostic, open data parking platform’ to enable a range of services to citizens and local government.

Citizens will be able to view the ‘parking landscape’ in real-time (via a smartphone ‘app’), in rode to be able to make an informed decision ahead of arrival; while city authorities will also be able to see the status of their parking assets in real-time. In addition they could apply dynamic pricing to alter driver behaviour, for example to use park & ride versus driving to the city centre (in response to the status of congestion & parking saturation), or to ensure the full utilisation of less popular parking facilities.

Ethos claims that previous pilots demonstrated a 5% increase in revenues for operators when smart parking technology is deployed, which when coupled with the low cost of implementation, will deliver an immediate & significant return on investment (ROI).

The plan is to offer the data in an open format, enabling a service to be delivered by a variety of applications, also with no advertisements or charges.

Ethos has been also chosen as one of the winning bids in the feasibility stage of InnovateUK’s Re-imagining the high street competition.


Data platforms for power and heat usage and city management platforms to connect data sets and data sources

Two participants that addressed Challenge 1: data platform for power and heat usage were selected for phase 2:

  • Ricardo AEA Limited’s ‘Real time Energy Heat and Power platform’ (REHP) - to develop a data platform for power and heat usage with sufficient granularity to identify community trends and individual usage patterns in both domestic and commercial buildings.
  • Energy Saving Trust Enterprises Limited’s ‘Stakeholder interactive City Energy Demand Simulator’ - or (SiCEDS), a tool for cities to help optimise energy infrastructure through a collaborative assessment of options.

For Challenge 2: A city management platform to connect data sets and data sources, the sole project to progress was Nquiringminds Limited for its ‘OCDP - Open City Data Platform’, that will work with Hampshire, Liverpool and Cambridge councils to prototype, demonstrate and prove the value of Open Data Mashups, a Central Planning Registry and Liveable Cities Programme.

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