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Results of Phase 1 of the SBRI competition Future Cities solutions - feasibility projects addressing common challenges for cities

To stimulate the market for innovative solutions to common challenges faced by cities, the Technology Strategy Board is investing up to £5m in the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition Future Cities Solutions, concentrating on issues that UK cities highlighted as their main concerns - relating to energy, data and transportation.

Cities are having to face up to big issues such as climate change, changes in population and demographics, congestion and healthcare, and pressures on resources. More pressing, if perhaps more mundane, are the related issues around energy management, making better use of data generated by activities in cities and transport pressure such as parking.

With cities being the engine of economic growth - and one third of the UK's population living in the country's ten largest urban areas - there’s likely to be a large (and global) market for innovative approaches to creating efficient, attractive and resilient cities.

As part of its technological solutions to these issues that could have global export value, Technology Strategy Board are currently supporting fifteen demonstrate projects testing solutions and business models - such as from big data, crowdsourcing, and enabling apis to be integrated in third party platforms - to test the value of their proposals for cities and citizens.

The most successful of these projects, described below, are due to be selected for the development stage, to be announced later this summer, that will involve ‘test bed’ cities for the best ideas.


Arising from the Future Cities Demonstrator competition

The Technology Strategy Board’s previous Future Cities Demonstrator competition, in the summer of 2012, provided funding for 29 UK cities to carry out feasibility studies to show the value that could be created by integrating city systems. This allowed UK cities to explore new approaches to delivering stronger local economies and quality of life, while reducing environmental footprints and increasing resilience to environmental change.  

In January 2013, Glasgow was chosen to carry out a large-scale demonstration of how city systems can be integrated, and the Technology Strategy Board has funded smaller demonstration projects in Bristol, London and Peterborough. These projects will enable businesses to test new solutions for connecting and integrating city systems.

The Technology Strategy Board and the cities that participated in the Demonstrator competition, also identified challenges facing local authorities, where viable solutions are not yet available on the market. The Future Cities solutions SBRI competition aimed to tackle these challenges, in the areas of energy, data and transportation.


Two phases

There are two phases to the competition. The first phase, currently underway, provides support of up to £1m to fifteen projects, roughly evenly spread across the three challenges, each receiving a 100% funded development contract, up to just below £100,000.

The contracts were awarded in the autumn of last year to organisations to explore solutions, and to develop proposals for prototyping and implementation.

For the second phase, cities have offered themselves as ‘test beds’. Up to £4m is available for contracts to develop, deploy and test integrated urban solutions. Based on the quality of their proposals, developed in the first phase of the competition, successful organisations will attract a further 100%-funded development contract, to a maximum of £1m.

The competition is open to individual companies or organisations from the private, public and third sectors. 


Adapt, extend and tune

The proposed solutions were required to be not currently available in the market.

In implementing their solutions, organisations were required to use open, non-proprietary application programming interfaces (APIs) and data formats, drawing on best practice and established standards, and leveraging proven technologies and systems. Their role was to adapt, extend and tune these technologies and systems, to address the shared challenges.

The proposals were also excepted to have the potential for wider deployment, as a tested and proven solution, in other cities in the UK and globally.


Challenge 1: data platform for power and heat usage

Five proposals were funded to demonstrate solutions addressing challenge 1: 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.

It was identified that cities lack information in the rapidly changing energy market. Solution were sought to bring down, and better handle, the cost, supply and demand for energy. Cities see opportunities in bringing organisations together to create efficiencies, but at present they lack an understanding of the utilities that each uses.


COBWEB - led Oxford Brookes Enterprises Limited

Led by Professor Rajat Gupta of Oxford Brookes’ Low Carbon Building Group, the COBWEB project (Common Building Energy Platform on the Web), is developing a prototype data platform for real-time power and heat usage, capable of identifying community trends and individual usage patterns in domestic and commercial buildings.

The project brings together the Low Carbon Building Group of Oxford Brookes University - with expertise in energy, building tools and platforms - and also ‘Big Data’ software experts Mastodon C, plus Rickaby Thompson Associates, specialists in building energy efficiency and sustainability.

The COBWEB prototype has the capability to rapidly data-mine, report, map and track ‘real-time’ energy usage in domestic and commercial buildings. If successful, COBWEB will provide a insight into how and why energy demand changes in order for cities to be able respond quickly.

A series of Prezi presentations, illustrating the platform, has been published by Matt Gregg, Research Fellow in Architecture and Climate Change, Oxford Brookes University. The animation shows how COBWEB allows users to store energy use data from multiple sources, map that data, apply standard analytical procedures, and export data for detailed analysis.

As a result the platform it claimed to:

  • identify buildings, blocks, estates and districts that are relatively high or low energy users for improvement;
  • correlate data with information from databases;
  • support more effective targeting of retrofit activity;
  • enable social housing providers, organisations with large property portfolios, facilities managers and even community groups to understand the energy profile of their stock;
  • link property level geo-data with real time smart metering data to enhance the management of energy systems and the participation of consumers.

CEDS - led by Energy Saving Trust Enterprises Limited

CEDS - The City Energy Demand Simulation - is a decision making tool designed to provide cities and local authorities with a method for visualising future energy demand (including gas and electricity) - from street, to district, to citywide, including residential and commercial energy demand.

CEDS is intended to enable ‘holistic’ design of energy architectures for cities, taking into account economic, environmental and social outcomes of alternative options.

The project is led by Energy Saving Trust Enterprises Limited, that is working with UCL Energy Institute.

The CEDS project offers a way for to planners and decision makers to visualise the impact of various demand- and supply-side energy investment strategies - on energy costs, emissions, and fuel poverty levels. Importantly, it should help planners understand the impact of energy technology deployments on the energy demand of buildings.

The project intends to demonstrate the relative economic and environmental attractiveness of local energy supply schemes such as district heating combined with power, versus importing electricity from the grid.

It is also designed to show the impact of technology deployment by social geography, and to allow cities and local authorities to identify how to budgets for developing low carbon energy infrastructures.

By modelling future demand, supply and cost scenarios, cities will be able to prioritise development of local energy assets, such as district heating networks, energy from waste, retrofit and new build locations.

The CEDS project hopes to enable cities understand how they can deliver priorities for cost effective locations for business and industry, with a secure supply, while also helping tackle fuel poverty, and reducing carbon emissions and energy costs.

CEDS builds on the work of the Energy Saving Trust, supported by the UCL Energy Institute, National Grid and Western Power Distribution (WPD).


Metricity - More Associates Limited

Led by More Associates Limited, Metricity is collaboration platform for analysing the ‘big data’ that will arise from smart metering. It is designed to enable a city to understand energy use, reduce costs and direct energy efficiency interventions and policies.

The project is a collaboration between More Associates (that runs the CarbonCulture sustainability engagement platform that in 2010 was launched at seven Whitehall Departments); as well as UCL Centre for Energy Epidemiology; Bartlett School of Graduate Studies and EDF Energy.

Built on top of CarbonCulture – the platform will enable exchange of data (at varying scales, intervals and granularity) between cities, suppliers and citizens to enable energy savings and create value for businesses.

By providing a core set of data and services, Metricity is designed to reduce the cost of energy saving actions and of the measurement and evaluation of these actions, while catalysing other enterprises to develop, and help implement and accelerate, the uptake of such actions for cities.

In the feasibility stage, the project will deliver a small number of research tools to be applied in cities. These tools will be developed at the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies and the UCL Centre for Energy Epidemiology.

When fully developed, Metricity will offer a way for cities to reduce costs across a range of contracts. For research

institutions and energy saving businesses, it will offer a way to remove low-value, repetitive data cleaning and system integration, help enable collaborations between suppliers, reduce transaction costs and allow them to focus on where they can best add value.

Metricity has been designed to remove barriers currently in the way of the free market and research activities around energy savings in cities, such as collaboration and information sharing, and unnecessary duplication.

Addressing some of the critical market failures, it’s claimed, should ‘substantially accelerate energy saving innovation across multiple cities in the UK and around the world’.


MIRIAM - led by Integrated Environmental Solutions Limited

MIRIAM is the moniker for Integrated Environmental Solutions Limited’s (IES) interoperable Neighbourhood Manager and City Information Model, designed to gather Real-Time Information (RTI) and Building Specific Information for analysing and understanding power and heat use across cities.

Glasgow-based IES is a developer of building simulation software, experienced in designing buildings that minimise environmental impact.

The model uses data from sources such as smart meters, Automated Meter Readings (AMR), Building Management Systems (BMS) and weather stations. Data is also gathered from the owners or users of buildings; including utility bill information, information on building types, floor area, occupancy and use, as well as information about buildings services and equipment.

Where possible, actual data is used to show measured energy use in the city and, where real data isn’t available, simulated data is generated via the collected building specific information. All this data is stored in an interoperable City Information Model (CIM) server. Filtered data can then be viewed online as a 3D model, as 2D interactive maps or as raw data to better understand energy usage and flows in a city. As more information from the city is uploaded, the accuracy of the simulated data can be increased and, eventually, through available RTI, simulated building data is replaced by real building data to provide a more precise real-time picture of how the city energy use is evolving with user behaviour.

Data from the CIM server is exported to a Neighbourhood Manager (NM), which characterises the city in terms of power and heat. The NM uses a simulation engine to predict savings and the ‘return on investment’ capable of being achieved by retrofit measures.

For initial development of the MIRIAM product building owners will be able to use MIRIAM to identify potential retrofit measures; the public will be able to identify district schemes that benefit a defined area; businesses will be able to identify opportunities for a portfolio of buildings; and technology/service providers can use MIRIAM to identify areas for targeted marketing.


Real time Energy Heat and Power platform (REHP) - led by Ricardo-AEA Limited

Ricardo-AEA Limited's real time energy heat and power platform (REHP) intends to provide a tool to help communities and authorities make informed decisions on energy and cost saving investments.

Based on existing Ricardo-AEA technology, the REHP platform incentivises data sharing, targets efficiency measures, and prioritises implementation of infrastructure and cost-saving investments. The system will also enable integration with other data to allow a more comprehensive assessment of opportunities.

The project will investigate the feasibility of integrating the energy platform into existing data sets, and identify other trends and patterns at a local level that could provide additional benefits to local communities and authorities.

The feasibility study, working in partnership with a city authority, will:

  • Incorporate real time heat and power use data;
  • Study the feasibility of integrating existing data sets (such as Air Quality, Transport, CHP)
  • Establish mechanisms for stakeholder inputs and involvement;
  • Identify energy use models that the platform can use to fill gaps in data;
  • Visualise system outputs;
  • Show the methodology for engagement with communities and stakeholders.

Ricardo-AEA hopes the platform will help authorities achieve energy efficiency obligations, as well as identify trends and benefits from integration of energy and other non-energy data sets.


Challenge 2: A city management platform to connect data sets and data sources

Six proposals are currently under development designed to address challenge 2: Develop a solution for a city management platform that can connect the disparate data sets and data sources to be found within a city, using a non-proprietary, generic and open application program interface (API).

Technology Strategy Board considered that cities would like to overlay datasets in order to get a more holistic view of how their data interacts. These datasets include those relating to transport; air quality; energy usage and resource efficiency; and licensing of premises as well as planning.

Innovative solutions to displaying and analysing data were particularly encouraged.


Feasibility of enhanced open city data management platform with crowd sourcing - led by Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants Ltd

Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC) and Algebra proposed an open city data platform that uses crowd-sourcing to visualise and capture data, including data related to the environment, health, industry and energy.

Historically, cities have owned rich datasets but, in the main, this data has been unavailable to the public and often also to city authorities. But as cities become ‘super-connected’ - with faster broadband, dense Wi-Fi and almost as many smartphones as citizens - data platforms may soon be able to realise the potential benefits, and the public be able to contribute too by capturing data for the greater good.

Combining city data with crowd-sourced data could share the burden of data curation, increase the level of feedback and encourage communication between city authorities and the citizen, and provide new channels to communicate important issues between cities and citizens.

The proposed system uses interactive map presentations and combines public data with crowd-sourced data related to, for instance, health, energy, environment and transport. Open APIs will be the basis for an ecosystem of third-party apps and services - accessed by phone, website, smart devices, and social media - that will benefit from direct access to data via the APIs.

Phase 1 of the project will examine the feasibility and practicalities of such a system. Phase 2 involves developing the platform, installing a prototype for a test-bed city, and making pilot apps and services to demonstrate the possibilities and foster an app ecosystem, including data presentation with maps. These pilot solutions will then be shaped with the partner city, and analyse decisions for the city supported by data and user needs. The pilot solutions will build on developed tools such as the London airTEXT health and air quality forecasts (developed by CERC) and Q-Cumber, and a combination of crowd-sourcing, social networking and environmental tools, that takes data from heterogeneous sources in a user-friendly query framework (developed by Algebra).

The project partners - CERC and Algebra - are both SMEs experienced in working with cities to maximise the use of environmental, health, industrial and energy data, with Q-Cumber having been adopted for crowd-sourcing by several cities in Italy.

A Presentation (pdf) of Q-Cumber from the project kick-off meeting (13 November 2013) is available to view.


Stentor - led by Mastodon C Limited

Mastodon C Limited, a South-East London based technology company specialising in open source, cloud-based ‘big data’ technologies, recently provided the final performance analysis for the Technology Strategy Board-funded Retrofit for the Future programme, which operated between 2010 and 2012.

Mastodon C are also involved in the COBWEB (challenge 1) project (see above).

The Stentor project is a collaboration between Mastodon C and Social Life, a social enterprise created by the Young Foundation that advises on issues such as ‘social sustainability’. 

From Greek mythology, Stentor was a herald distinguished for his loud voice. This twenty first century namesake's battle cry is to make city data to speak for itself.

It’s an already developed open-source, comparative city dashboard that synthesises, analyses and maps complex datasets so that city leaders and decision-makers can better understand the dynamics of the places they manage.

The Stentor project is designed to enable city leaders and officials to make decisions that improve quality of life and create stronger, more resilient cities.

Stentor has published an image on Twitter of a demo given to Cambridgeshire County Council…



Asset Mapping - led by Asset Mapping Limited

The Asset Mapping project has been developed to optimise the importing and sharing of asset information from various software platforms such as CAD, Project Management Systems, Scheduling and Asset Management Systems. Some of these systems are capable of synchronising with a live database, but if not, a plug-in will be developed to enable sharing of information.

The product can present asset information using Google Maps - that is editable using administration and end-user interfaces. By developing a change control system, this should allow the stakeholder to be made aware of actions or alerts required to install and operate assets.

The project will integrate with commonly used software to allow Asset Mapping to be used as the interface to a single source of trusted information.

In studies, such collaboration tools have been found to save between 35% and 65% of workforce time by removing the work of verifying and validation before information becomes trusted information.


DIEP - led by Aimes Grid Services Community Interest Company

The Data Integration and Exchange Platform (DIEP) feasibility study will examine the potential for creating a city management platform capable of ingesting a range of local authority data and new ways for visualising and analyse that data.

The project is a collaboration between AIMES Grid Services Ltd, a data centre services company and the IT Innovation Centre, part of the University of Southampton.

AIMES has set up a G-Cloud facility at its cloud computing campus at Liverpool Innovation Park to develop platforms for secure and scaleable ingestion of data and deploying applications.

G-Cloud is designed to ease procurement of commodity information technology services within public sector bodies that use cloud computing.

IT Innovations has previously been part of UK and EU funded projects that developed software platforms including the DESURBS (Designing Safer Urban Spaces) platform which helps planners, engineers and architects, manage urban data.

The first phase of the DIEP project will combine AIMES’s infrastructure with the IT Innovation Centre’s software platform to create a prototype demonstrating the feasibility of ingesting disparate city datasets; for providing services to visualise data using mapping technologies and analyse the data to create new insights.

The DIEP platform will use open application program interfaces (APIs) to import the data and create a marketplace to allow third-party developers to produce apps and services for local authorities.

The second phase of the project envisions a large-scale Future Cities management platform using Open Source technologies and secure, resilient and scalable G-Cloud infrastructure that will have been evaluated during the feasibility study.

The DIEP platform expects to offer new ways of visualising city data using a range of mapping tools including a ‘slippy map’ architecture and evaluate a number of analytics services including comparative dashboards and statistical models. As a result, the DIEP project is expected to enable local authorities to gain insights from their data assets and improve the decision and policy making process.


Open City Data Platform (OCDP) led by NquiringMinds Limited

Led by NquiringMinds Limited, Open City Data Platform (OCDP) project aims to use both 'open' and ‘closed’ data, to help inform decision making in cities - using interactive, visual displays of cleaned-up secure information, built on secure and proven open source technologies.

NquiringMinds Ltd - based at The University of Southampton Science Park - specialises in advanced Web technologies. Its flagship product is UbiApps that addresses mobile workflow, Internet of Things, ‘big data’ and smart city segments. UbiApps recently exhibited at the CEBit trade fair in Hanover, Germany.

The company said it is an advocate of and practitioner of Open Source and Open Standards technologies, and is commited to open-sourcing technologies and granting access via Open APIs.

Phase 1 of the project aims to create a prototype demonstrating the feasibility of connecting disparate data sources from multiple sources and across complex data/value chains.

It will develop tools to produce real-time visualisations of this data, using mapping technologies and user-friendly interfaces to create meaningful data mash-ups, with security ‘built-in’.

The project also hopes to deliver applications in the fields planning, energy management and sustainable living. 

In Phase 2, NquiringMinds plans to work with a County Council to combine various big data sets (such as from private companies, city councils, emergency service providers, committees and NGOs) to produce a web interface for private (secure) analysis of data. It also plans to deliver a public interface using annonymised versions of this data, as well as open data. The resulting product can then be offered to other councils across the UK and have the potential to be exported globally.



Challenge 3: a scalable, on-demand mobility solution to help employees or visitors reach businesses within a city 

Transporting people, goods and services within a city is costly, and it affects a city's environmental footprint: for example it's estimated that, on any given day in the UK, 15% of CO2 emissions are reportedly caused by people driving around looking for a parking space.

Support has been provided for five projects that proposed solutions for developing a scalable on-demand mobility solution to help employees or visitors reach businesses within a city.


Collaborative parking solution project - led by Ethos VO Limited 

Ethos VO Limited’s Parking Management Platform hopes to provide motorists with a faster way to find, book and pay for off-street parking - while also helping lower fuel costs and lessen the anxiety and frustration of looking for a parking space.

For cities and councils, the platform offers a means to optimise parking assets, while also providing opportunities for third-party developers to integrate the service into transport apps.

It is also projected to be self-financing by optimising the parking assets of cities.

Ethos Smart, is part of Ethos Valuable Outcomes Ltd, a social enterprise company based in London.

Commenting on the platform, its CEO Adrian Ulisse said, "For the city or council the benefits could include reduced traffic congestion, leading to reduced carbon emissions and improved air quality.”

"For the city resident or other visitors benefits would include an enhanced city-centre experience, due to less congestion and better air quality.”

Parking is a major headache for cities, that Ethos highlights as having knock on economic, environmental and wellbeing effects.

In terms of local economies - quoting a Swiftcover and BIS Understanding High Street Performance Report, Ethos points to the finding that around 51% of motorists are turning their backs on city centres because of difficulties in parking.

In terms of environmental impacts, Ethos repeats the Technology Strategy Board figure of up to 15% of vehicle emissions coming from motorists trying to park their vehicle; a figure if halved, according to Ofgem would reduce UK CO2 emissions by 38M tonnes a year.

In terms of citizens’ and council wellbeing, growing numbers of electric vehicle owners have found that city parking services often fail to meet their needs. Furthermore, cities could be accused of reputational damage from parking controls; with English councils generating £565M of parking charge surpluses from parking charges.

Ethos claims that although new technologies are being introduced, these tend to be fragmented in nature and proprietary, often with incomplete data locked in individual systems or static forms, a situation it regards as unsustainable.

Ethos’s collaborative parking platform is, however, based on a ‘common core dataset’ that uses an open source architecture. This should allow free access to real-time information about parking availability and pricing for use by both citizens and business. Additionally, Ethos intends to encourage an ecosystem of third-party applications, using the platform to provide services to aid motorists in their journey.

Such a collaborative approach should benefit drivers, and encourage incentives such as discounts for parking, as well as notification of car parks with spaces and pre-booking of spaces.

For cities, it offers an accurate measure of parking demand to help optimise its assets and allow parking to be a more precise policy tool.

For government the service is claimed as a model for self-financing open data publication.

For retailers and employers business intelligence such as sales against visitors, or office car park sharing, is offered. The data also offers entrepreneurial opportunities for web and mobile applications developers.

Ethos plans to set up a Community Interest Company to operate the collaborative parking platform, funded from by optimising of the participating cities’ parking assets. It is anticipated that key stakeholders will own a share in the company, with profits to be reinvested for the benefit of the citizens.

On 23 April 2014 Ethos Smart announced it had confirmed the feasibility of its proposed cloud based, linked open data Parking Management Platform and was working on its bid for Phase 2, the development phase, to receive funds to build a demonstrator and develop its commercialisation plans with selected city partners; a number of which have, it says, signed up as potential test-beds.


Travel Time; helping people to search, navigate and enjoy Smart Cities - led by iGeolise Limited

iGeolise was founded in 2009 when Charlie Davies has his Damascene moment for re-quantifying the unit of city navigation: thinking it would be more useful to find locations on online maps and apps based on the time it takes to travel, in all modes, rather than by distance.

Since then, a team of developers have built the Travel Time Platform that ‘turns distance into time’.

iGeolise, based at the SETsquared  innovation centre at the University of Surrey, was recently featured by Technology Strategy Board as a success story - and become highly visible as a Beta feature to distinguish Zoopla.com’s property location service, that offers as a search filter travel time across transport modes to search the property market as a differentiator from similar sites that search by distance.

Possibly helped by this innovation Zoopla, that is Britain’s second-biggest property website, recently confirmed flotation plans which is likely to value the company at around £1bn.

With an eye to it’s own potential international expansion iGeolise recently took part in MIT’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s) eTeam programme - one of the world’s most prestigious accelerator programmes.

According to iGeolise, searching by distance isn't (always) very helpful. A location five miles away might take ten minutes if on a fast route, but two hours if not; it might take one hour on a weekday morning but five minutes on a Sunday morning. iGeolise claim that travel time typically doubles the number of relevant results compared to distance, but its usefulness extends beyond searching for those places we want to visit; it can also provide a helpful comparison across different transport modes for the journey (comparing cars to public transport for instance).

The service could also provide optimum routing; define catchment areas for councils when considering business planning applications; help businesses plan for office relocations by analysing the impact on their staff’s commuting times; simplify and optimise car-pooling and car sharing schemes; and improve mail order delivery services.

Planning travel by time rather than distance, iGeolise claim, in itself, will save time, congestion, cost and CO2 emissions.

iGeolise has already built the Travel Time Platform which makes location content searchable by travel time. Patent applications are pending in the UK and USA for the platform, that has been built to scale (currently live across the UK, USA, and Thailand; including as a feature of the popular property search website Zoopla.com).

The funded project will enable the company to add three new features: 1. calculation of CO2 emissions for journeys; 2. calculation of the cost of journeys; and 3. the capability to update and refresh results from real-time information.

The Travel Time Platform is accessed via an API - which means that developers can include Travel Time into existing applications, websites and mobile applications, as well as into new ones.


Small Vehicle Transport System - led by Sustainable Environment Ltd

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

SVTS is claimed as a ‘re-imagination’ of local transportation: a ubiquitous public transport service as good as the private car, but also commercially sustainable within a context of limited public sector resources.

SVTS is designed for the roughly 70% of motorised journeys most likely to be made by private car, particularly journeys made on a daily basis in suburbs, smaller towns and rural areas – for which public transport services, it’s suggested, currently struggle to serve effectively.

The service will utilise computing technologies and widespread ownership of mobile devices to promote SVTS as a simple to use mobility 'product’. The service will use eight-seater passenger vehicles, professionally driven, that will operate wholly in response to short notice demand, with neither routes nor timetables, all at a cost similar to bus fares.

SVTS also intends to innovate in its business model. By managing and tracking each journey, and separating this management from the operation of transport services, it’s hoped the public sector could adopt efficient outcome-based 'payments-by-results' procurement while the private sector can ‘commission’ journeys for their staff or customers.

To be Launched in Milton Keynes (and operated its sister 'delivery' company, Simply Connect Ltd), SVTS is an adopted policy at Milton Keynes Council. It also forms the ‘transport on-demand’ element of the two-seater driverless Lutz programme supported by The Transport Systems Catapult along with members of the Automotive Council, Department of Business, Innovation & Skills, Milton Keynes Council and industrial partners.

A fleet of about 400 SVTS vehicles in Milton Keynes is projected to have the potential to gain 15% of the total motorised local transport market: more than a 10% modal shift from the private car generating a turnover of around £80M a year.

With potential to operate in about 70% of the UK, SVTS is claimed as a scalable transport-on-demand system providing benefits including job creation, a 7% traffic reduction with 5-20% carbon reduction and consequent reduction in need for expanded highway infrastructure; as well as ensuring access for businesses, irrespective of parking limitations or the need for staff or customers to have a car.


Citizens At The City’s Heart - by TravelAI Limited

TravelAI together with partners ELGIN, ITOWorld, and Placr are combining technologies to demonstrate a journey planner and transport usage data service, that crowdsources multi-modal user data.

CATCH is an online and mobile app journey planner, with routing based on the live conditions of a transport system.

It searches by origin and destination name, not just postcode, and allows users to contribute to local knowledge. It studies a user’s speed, location and pattern of movement to detect the mode of transport currently used and then routes automatically. On average, the app correctly identifies a route for over 80% of journeys; within a couple of clicks, users can edit to make it even more accurate.

The data submitted by users comprises histories of journey planner searches, transport usage logs and any manual contributions, such as locations of potholes, notifications of late-running services or sentiment on the quality of a particular transport service. The data is automatically analysed and enhanced with meta data such as the categorisation of purpose (such commute or shopping trip). The combined data of all participating citizens provides local government, transport planners and operators with a rich dataset to better understand the interdependency of various modes of transport and suggest more effective transport services.

For cities, as well as helping citizens by get around, CATCH provides access to granular data and insight on transport and infrastructure usage. It also enables specific analysis - such as on pinch points, identifies modal interchanges, assesses service provision, plus eliminates the lead time of surveys.

This anonymised community data feeds back into the journey planner to improve overall results and is made available to cities and transport operators to help improve transport services.

In January this year TravelAI released a 0.9 alpha release of its TravelAI Catch! Demo app on the Google Play Store for use across the UK and EU using TravelAI's automated travel-detection technology.

The free demonstration version of the app is intended for city officials and citizens and transport professionals to view the potential of Catch! for their city. The demo app detects flights anywhere in the world and identifies land-based travel in the UK and continental Europe. It records any land-based journeys outside these regions as road travel. The demo version doesn't include the Catch! journey planner, but does include the crowd sourcing travel detection feature.


ImCity Park Green - led by Imtech Traffic & Infra

 Imtech Traffic & Infra  is a Basingstoke based technical services provider operating in the traffic and infrastructure markets. It combines electrical and mechanical engineering and ICT to deliver solutions for moving people, materials, energy and data. It has about 500 employees nationwide.

Prior to its acquisition by Royal Imtech NV in April 2007, Imtech Traffic & Infra UK Limited was known as Peek Traffic, with core markets of ITS and traffic equipment.

The ImCity Park Green project intends to provide real time travel information in cities for travellers, business users and small freight delivery operators. The service offers a scalable on-demand mobility solution for finding businesses within a city, so enabling or increasing the efficient mobility of people and goods. It will also provide real-time information on destination car parking availability, linked to a prediction of future occupancy based on historic data, as well as providing information on alternative travel modes and commercial pick-up/delivery options. By providing improved reliability for finding parking spaces the solution should reduce CO2 emissions and, with alerts to update users of changes on the network, provide alternative options.


The development phase - city ‘test beds'

The next part, phase two, of the competition is currently open for applications from the demonstrators - with an impending deadline of 11 June 2014, at noon.

Phase two applicants are due to be notified of decisions by 14 July 2014 and contracts awarded by 13 August 2014.



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[...] The Technology Strategy Board revealed recently results of the first Phase of the Small Business Research Initiative competition for Future Cities Solutions. Focusing on energy, data and... [...] Read More
Posted on 05/06/14 11:59.
[...] UK’s Future Cities competition – TSB announced the results of the first phase of the Future Cities solutions SBRI competition [...] Read More
Posted on 03/07/14 16:57.

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