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Integrated transport - In-field solutions competition 1 roundup

Innovate UK’s Integrated transport - In-field solutions competition last year resulted in investments of just over £600,000 in twelve feasibility studies seeking new approaches to dealing with traffic congestion through ‘integration’.

Integration, it was considered, could offer efficiencies, such as by reducing capital cost and maintenance, or providing a self-functioning and self-monitoring transport system. Innovate UK envisaged successful implementations boosting local economies, increasing social inclusion and reducing the environmental impact of transport.

The overall aim is to encourage new ways of thinking, to deliver more efficient transportation.

The competition has two phases: the first feasibility studies that ran early in 2014, followed by in-field trials. A comeptition for support for these trials opened for registration on 12 January 2015.


Aims of the feasibility studies

The feasibility studies aimed to:

  • identify a real-life situation where the movement of people and goods is being hindered through outdated transport systems, and can be made more efficient through integration;
  • identify existing economic impacts in the trial area, and provide quantifiable evidence of the potential for financial improvement through its trial solution;
  • develop future-system flexibility, to protect against fast-moving innovation in transport technologies;
  • identify any issues around stakeholder management etc, and encourage business collaboration;
  • overcome any deficiencies in interoperability, incompatibility of data or differences in language in providing a product or service;
  • assess local market size and the potential for home-grown innovation;
  • through design and engineering, leverage existing infrastructure and system components to reduce operational and maintenance costs;
  • improve the provision of information to passengers
  • bring together public and private services, so that routes can be used most effectively.


Collaborative R&D: In-field trials

For the second stage, large-scale, real-life in-field trials will be run to provide evidence of how approaches will offer cost reductions in infrastructure, how resilience, security and interoperability can be increased, and how data can be used more effectively for the benefit of customers and operators. 

Up to £9.5m will be made available for the large-scale in-field trials, that will last for 12 months.

In-field trials will be funded at 50-60% of project costs, depending on the size of the organisation, with total project costs for in-field trials to be between £1m and £4m.

Results of competition: Integrated transport - In-field solutions - Feasibility studies

Solutions for Integrated Seamless Transport Across Land and Sea (SISTALS)

The Solutions for Integrated Seamless Transport Across Land and Sea (SISTALS) project is led by Chronos Technology Limited, a Gloucestershire based specialist in equipment for industrial Position, Navigation and Timing GPS vulnerability detection and geolocation technologies.

Also participating are AB Ports, that owns and operates 21 ports in England, Scotland, and Wales, and handles approximately a quarter of the country's seaborne trade; AIMES Grid Services CIC, a Liverpool based Cloud and Data Centre Services company; Avanti Communications Limited, a satellite operator; Cambridge Consultants Limited, a product development engineering and technology consulting company; Transport Systems Catapult; Satellite Applications CatapultGeneral Lighthouse Authorities - GLA Institute for Sustainability; Keyfort Limited, a Bournemouth based IT services company; Mix Telematics Limited, a vehicle tracking company, National Physical Laboratory; PIE Mapping, a London based mapping data provider; The UK Hydrographic Office, a producer of nautical publications and services for the Royal Navy and merchant shipping; plus the University of Bath and the University of Hull.

The proposed project costs were £62,260, and proposed project grant was £49,325.

The SISTALS study considered the feasibility of a national transmodal logistics information and command and control system. It addressed a perceived need for closer integration between land and sea logistics systems in ports; and studied an alternative to current communications and positional awareness systems.

The aim was to help ensure goods are in the right place at the right time, and also reduce congestion throughout the existing port, road and rail infrastructure.

In July 2014, Professor Charles Curry of Managing Director and Founder of Chronos Technology took part in a live debate at Transport Systems Catapult’s offices about technology and intelligent mobility, described eLoran technology as the alternative to satellite based positioning, and more resilient to jamming. 

Chronos Technology, GLA - General Lighthouse Authorities and NPL previously collaborated on the SENTINEL project, a £735,000 funded project from January 2011 to March 2013 that researched the security of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) – in particular GPS and Galileo and eLoran. In particular, the project addressed the detection and location of deliberate or accidental signal jamming and also discrimination between interference and natural phenomena.

According to The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC), its participation in the SISTALS feasibility study helped demonstrate the value of a fully integrated vehicle and freight tracking system that could be used to increase fuel efficiencies and reduce the impact of congestion, at sea, in ports or on the road, with scope to also consider rail freight issues in the future. 

It stated that the initial SISTALS report proposed a series of possible solutions and improvements including prototype equipment and web-based services.

In an undated description of the project, TSC stated “These are now due to be tested in a major In-Field trial that will help to demonstrate their readiness for application in the ‘real world’”.

Enhanced Corporate & Public Vehicle Sharing Initiative

Led by Co-Wheels Community Car Club CIC, and working in partnership with Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust and Proteo Limited, the Enhanced Corporate & Public Vehicle Sharing Initiative is seeking to create an innovative vehicle management system.

The proposed project costs were £69,603, and proposed project grant £53,576.

The initiative involves vehicle sharing between organisations and the general public to reduce the level car ownership in communities, and provide environmental and financial benefits to individuals and organisations.

Proteo is a Norwich based provider of technology products and services to the road transport industry and transport departments. The company previously helped Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) develop a Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (TDM) database to improve the treatment of bipolar disorder sufferers taking lithium.

Through its NHS Fleet Management service, Co-wheels offers a fleet management solutions for NHS trusts and other health care providers.

The shared cars can be opened up for use by staff and other Co-wheels members privately outside working hours, to generate revenue which can be used by the Trust to offset against running costs.

According to the The Sustainable Development Unit, that provides support to the health and care system in England, the trial to encourage NHS workers to use low emissions pool cars for visiting patients has proved so popular that the scheme is being extended, with the introduction of an electric car.

The scheme at Clay Cross Hospital in Chesterfield is being extended from ten Toyota Aygo cars with the addition of an electric Nissan Leaf to the car pool on a trial basis.

Mark Armstrong-Read, a spokesman for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, who has led on the pool car scheme, said, “Feedback from staff has been extremely positive and there are numerous wider benefits apart from the environmental benefits, including improved safety and availability of these cars to members of the public outside working hours through the Co-wheels car club website.”

In the first year of the Co-wheels trial, users transferred 54,900 miles from their own higher polluting vehicles and saved an estimated 5.3 tonnes of CO2.

So far 212 people have registered to use the scheme’s pool cars, with the most active user travelling 3,168 miles during 2013.

The cars are located at five hospital sites: Babington Hospital, Belper; Buxton Cottage Hospital; Clay Cross Hospital; Walton Hospital, Chesterfield; and Whitworth Hospital, Darley Dale.

Demand-based Urban Bus Integrated with Rail And Health (DUBIRAH)

Esoterix Systems Limited led the Demand-based Urban Bus Integrated with Rail And Health (DUBIRAH) project, that set out to assess the viability of developing and operating a commercially sustainable on-demand bus service in Bristol, integrated with rail services and health care provision.

The £61,236 budgeted project (with proposed project grant of

£42,720) ran from April to June 2014, also involved collaborating partners First Great Western; North Bristol NHS Trust; and the University of West of England.

Esoterix’s ‘buxi bus’ is similar to a bus, as passengers share journeys but, like a taxi, it doesn’t follow a fixed route. Instead, routing is according to who is travelling, where they need to be collected from and where they’re going to.

According to Esoterix, North Bristol suffers from some of the worst congestion in the country and has an over-reliance on cars in the absence of sufficiently cheap and convenient public transport. The region includes two Enterprise Zones and several major housing developments yet congestion and parking difficulties are significantly limiting growth.

“We are one of the best cities for future growth. But there is one thing we really do need to get sorted out: congestion”, said Paul Wilson, CEO West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.

The trial of the buxi service concentrated on taking employees to-and-from work in the North Fringe, Southmead Hospital and the Avonmouth/Severnside Enterprise Area. Esoterix claimed that 96% of passengers liked the use of modern technology to deliver a personalised service, 71% of whom would otherwise have driven in a single-occupancy car.

At the start of the project the consortium said it would look to secure further and more significant funding to initiate the service for real in early 2015.

The problem DUBIRAH attempted to address, according to the University of West of England (UWE), is that people rarely find bus, rail and/or health service provisions seamlessly aligned: scheduled bus services do not provide sufficiently direct door-to-door journeys (e.g. between railway stations and final destinations), or at the needed times (e.g. to make a train connection or hospital appointment). The result in the north and west of Bristol is an over-reliance on the car, causing congestion costing £600m a year (WEST LSTF Bid, 2011), and a lack of access to employment and services for those without a car – all in an area that is, in theory, well served by rail.

The DUBIRAH ‘intelligent’ bus service actively integrated with services at local railway stations and with appointment schedules at Southmead Hospital. It operated transversely to existing bus routes (which typically run to-and-from Bristol city centre), taking local residents and rail commuters to-and-from the two North Bristol Enterprise Areas at peak times and to-and-from Southmead Hospital all day. The objective was to offer an integrated service that was sufficiently convenient, reliable and affordable to be a realistic alternative to car use. The feasibility study assessed the viability of the technology to provide a next generation bus service capable of attracting drivers out of their cars, and the viability of technology to extend access through integration with local train and health service provision.

The UWE Centre for Transport and Society (CTS) planned to analyse demand and assess how DUBIRAH met and grew that demand, by developing a ‘Demand Model’ – estimating who will use DUBIRAH and in what circumstances. The second task is around communications and engagement for the consortium, where CTS took the lead.

E-Mobility hubs

Led by EValu8 Transport Innovations Limited, the E-Mobility hubs project aimed to provide a demonstrator project that combined electric vehicle charging, an electric car club, and bike and e-bikes for hire from a single location situated at key transport nodes, all bookable from a single website. The project lasted from 1 April to 30 June 2014.

EValu8 Transport Innovations Ltd is a Hatfield, Hertfordshire, based not-for-profit organisation specialising in sustainable transport. It collaborated on the E-Mobility hubs with

E-Car Club Limited - a London electric pay-per-use car club;

Future Transport Systems Limited - a transport consultancy; and Hourbike Limited - a bicycle hire operator. Hourbike is based in Bisley, Surrey, and operates bike hire schemes in Dumfries, Lincoln, Liverpool, Nottingham, Oxford, Reading and Southport.

Proposed project costs were £65,909, and the proposed project grant was £46,267.

OneM2M-based Open Ecosystem for Transport Modal Shift

Interdigital UK Inc, a US wireless technologies company with a UK base in London, led the OneM2M-based Open Ecosystem for Transport Modal Shift project that explored the feasibility of an ITS platform design based on the international oneM2M standard (for Machine to Machine and the Internet of Things).

Also participating were Buckinghamshire County Council; Ovearup & Partners International Ltd; Edinburgh based RFID and sensor network appliances and services developer Traak Systems Ltd.; and Barcelona and London based wireless machine-to-machine (M2M)and Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies company Worldsensing Limited.

The budgeted £74,036 project (with a grant of £53,331) attempted to addresses traffic congestion through transport modal shifting while also testing a potential new source of revenue for Local Authorities, which was trialled with Buckinghamshire County Council.

The project explored the feasibility of a ITS platform design based on the emerging international standard oneM2M.

SITI-M: Smart Integrated Transport Infrastructure Maintenance

Mobile radio systems developer Intouch Ltd, led the SITI-M: Smart Integrated Transport Infrastructure Maintenance project

in collaboration with Connect M25 Ltd to test how maintenance can best be planned and conducted in a smart, integrated fashion across transport modes.

Connect M25 Ltd is consortium made up Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Atkins and Egis Road Operation UK - with expertise in highways asset care from finance, through to design, build, maintenance as well as day to day operation. As part of a 30-year remit to manage and improve the London’s orbital motorway network, it delivers improvement projects, such widening 38 miles of the M25, refurbishing tunnels and bridges, and installing hundreds of variable messaging signs and gantries, helping to maximise the use of the network and deliver more reliable journeys. It also manages the Dartford River crossing, and operates and maintains 440 kilometres of motorway.

According to the project proposal, transport maintenance activities are traditionally planned and implemented in silos based on the mode of transport, the type of asset and the contractors involved. However, advances in mobile computing and new forms of maintenance contract is expected to mean maintenance could be planned and conducted in a smart, integrated fashion across transport modes, and be better communicated to travellers.

This study explored the feasibility of creating an in-field trial of such an approach using for the M25. The study considered the benefits to both transport infrastructure owners and maintainers and the travelling public, assessing whether it is possible to both reduce congestion and maintain the transport infrastructure more effectively and efficiently.

Proposed project costs were £111,583, and the proposed project grant was £79,996.

Oxford Transport Laboratory

Preston Motorsport Ltd (run by Mark Preston, former Technical Director of the Super Aguri F1 Team) led the Oxford Transport Laboratory project, that created an integrated transportation eco-system to manage and optimise transportation in the city - with the short term goal of minimising the effect of the Westgate development scheduled to start in 2014 and a longer term goal of increasing economic activity while reducing traffic congestion.

Collaborating in the project were The Zeta Group - a Bicester—based spinout form Oxford University with expertise is developing electronic control system such as control systems for commercial vehicles such as road sweepers, LED lighting products powered by Solar PV arrays, and LED where Zeta supplies LED Lighting systems.

Other collaborators in the project were Elisa Interactive Ltd (DBI) - a data and marketing technology consultancy; the University Of Oxford Transport Studies Unit (TSU); and Oxford Brookes University Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Science.

Proposed project costs were £79,085, and the proposed project grant was £63,513.

The project aimed to create know-how and technology that can be transferred to similar city centres in the UK and then to develop economic benefit by expanding this expertise internationally.

As stated in the project website Mobility Oxford, the project attempted to improve the experience of visiting the City by creating open systems, processes and technologies to benefit visitors, residents and businesses.

The most important aspect of this project was the harmonisation of data and technologies locked in businesses and government systems.

The project aimed to limit the impact of the closure of the Westgate centre and car park. Redevelopment plans meant that in January 2015 Oxford centre will lose 800 of it’s existing 2,000 car parking spaces, placing additional burden on its transport system and risking reducing income to retailers and businesses.

The initial three month project attempted to provide analysis and recommendations for how Oxford should approach these challenges. The project aimed to go further than looking at traffic and transportation solutions, by engaging with people and businesses.

At the start of the project Mark Preston said, “it became obvious to us a few years ago that the future of transportation was not going to centre around cars as it has done for the last few decades, there will be a disruptive shift in how we live, travel and interact with transportation devices. We believe strongly that the future will be “Mobility as a Service”.”

“We began working on this project in after a trip to San Francisco looking at innovation and ideas surrounding the future of automotive and came up with this proposal for Oxford. We have a great set of partners who we believe will deliver exciting new ideas that can be rolled out to the world.”

To aid the project’s understanding of transportation in Oxford, the MobOx project requested volunteers to add real time data to our project through the use of OpenPaths mobile app produced by The New York Times Company. The App allows the team to use the data to develop its understanding of transportation in Oxford.

Feasibility Study: ‘Integrated, Multi- modal Mobility Platform for South Yorkshire’

Based on the Siemens concept of an Integrated Mobility Platform (IMP), the 3-4 month Integrated, Multi- modal Mobility Platform for South Yorkshire feasibility study evaluated the impact, benefits and requirements of an integrated, multi-modal transport system.

The Siemens led collaborative project - with the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) - looked at offering an IT solution to improve local citizen and traveller access to travel information across the various transport modes.

The Feasibility Study focused on local traveller use cases, describing the potential integrated and multi-modal approaches that will be possible once the final system has been implemented.

IMP was planned to enable an integrated transport network to become a reality for South Yorkshire and beyond, encouraging the utilisation of multiple transport modes within a single journey.

The study also examined ways in which a multi-modal smart payment system can be implemented across modes of travel including cycling, bus, tram, car club, taxi, car parking - such that the trip and choices are better understood.

The proposed project costs for the project were £91,015, and proposed project grant was £61,033.

Simply Connect

Collaborative participants in the Simply Connect project, led Sustainable Environment Ltd, were Arriva the Shires Limited and Ford Motor Company Limited.

Inverness-based consultancy Sustainable Environment devised and developed what it calls the Small Vehicle Transport System (SVTS), with the goal of an urban mobility service that’s sufficiently fast, reliable, flexible, as well as priced and at a comfort level sufficient to persuade transport users to use it in preference to their cars for a majority of journeys.

The project was awarded a (proposed) project grant of £48,187 for the £69,249 budgeted project to develop the integrated transport system.

Simply Connect proposed to offer Intelligent Mobility as a practical, realistic alternative to the private car for many journeys, whilst extending to freight movements.

The company was also awarded a £100,000 grant to study the feasibility of the solution in Phase 1 of the Innovate UK SBRI competition Future Cities solutions - feasibility projects addressing common challenges for cities.

The Smarter Travel Package

The Smarter Travel Package aimed to change the way consumers view and use public transport. The group undertaking this study was led by digital communications provider Telefónica O2 and included public transport provider FirstGroup, sustainability charity Forum for the Future and the UK’s largest car club, City Car Club.

The feasibility study explored delivery of a range of options for getting traveller to their destinations; via bus, rail, car club, cycle and taxi options for a ‘one screen journey’.

The project examined options for combining these travel services for increased choice, improved quality of life, reduced environmental impact and economic gain.

The consortium chose Leeds as the pilot city: Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Metro, University of Leeds and consultants Arup were also involved with the project. Future development would aim to converge new finance approaches too, such as mobile phone payment.

The proposed project costs were £78,180, and the proposed project grant was £47,943

In December 2013, Campaign for Better Transport, Cubic Transportation Systems, Telefónica and Thales formed the Smarter Travel Forum  to explore how the transport sector can work together to promote the use of emerging smart technology, such as real time information, smartcards and data collection.

Its manifesto suggested the Government could encourage and promote smarter travel by investing in smart technology like Network Rail's Traffic Management System, the Highways Agency National Traffic Information Service and Network Rail’s Intelligent Infrastructure Management System. It also suggested the Government use the regulatory systems it controls, such as the licensing of local bus services, the Highways Agency's performance specifications and rail franchises, to give incentives for adopting smart technology

Seamless Mobility App

A consortium led Visteon Engineering Services, also made up of Essex County Council and the University of Essex developed a feasibility study for a traffic congestion mobile app, “for the complete commute, from start to finish”.

The consortium proposed to deliver the app for all modes of transport, with an innovative use of filtered social network data for travel data based on commuting profiles. The source of the data for the app was Essex County Council, including real time information and verification of traffic incidents.

Proposed project costs were £21,938, and proposed project grant

was £14,964.

Visteon Engineering Services Limited, is a global automotive supplier that designs, engineers and manufactures climate, interior, electronic and lighting products and has a European headquarters in Chelmsford, Essex, (lead) Sales of $7.4 billion in 2013.


UK Aerotag - Integrated baggage transport system

According to the UK Aerotag consortium, led by Zafire Limited and also involving General Information Systems, flying with baggage has not changed in 40-years. Passengers are required to haul their suitcases to an airport check-in desk or bag drop and queue at carousels to collect bags at the end of their flight. IATA surveys, it was claimed, highlighted baggage-related queues, waiting and delayed or lost bags as a major negative impact on the passenger experience, meaning most passengers prefer to travel to airports by car if travelling with heavy bags.

UK Aerotag proposed a home check-in system to address these frustrations, facilitating local bag drops or collection and use existing logistics infrastructure to collect and deliver bags to and from airports. It’s research indicated that passengers would be more willing to use public transport to travel to and from an airport without bags and new aircraft will allow more comfortable, fuel efficient, lower cost travel in the long-term.

The proposal was to test new permanent, smart active bag tags, supply chains, regulation, process and infrastructure.

Banbury based Zafire provide software solutions Service Management and Aviation industries, while General Information Systems, based near Cambridge UK, specialises in Smartcard based products for both contact and contactless applications.

Proposed project costs were £59,005, with a proposed project grant being £44,254.

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