5G-enabled Road and Rail Transport Trials – First round funding competition winners

West Midlands 5G Limited has awarded a share of a £2.4 million investment pool to seven UK-based consortiums to deliver a series of 5G transport trials across the region.

The trials – or innovation projects – will develop new products or services across the West Midlands that prove a use case that will improve road and rail operational efficiency, provide better-connected transport, or improve passenger experience.

The projects are scheduled to run until the end of 2021, with many set to complete ahead of that deadline.

The winning projects from the first round are:

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blacc, Immense, Elgin, University of Warwick, and O2 – Capacity Manager

Over 80% of passenger journeys in the UK are on the roads and traffic volumes are still rising. However, there is currently a lack of tools to help local authorities understand how much road capacity is lost to roadworks. 

Strategic forecasting is undertaken when major schemes are delivered however for most works on the highway there isn’t an understanding of what the impact is on the capacity, traffic flows and behaviours.

This is where the 5G Enabled Dynamic Network Capacity Manager will look to support the roadwork operators by using 5G traffic sensing data for dynamic traffic management. This data will be augmented with more traditional data sources to construct a robust data repository that will be the basis for the solutions to the problem. Read more >

Vortex IoT, National Express, BT/EE, and Innovate UK – CURBS

As our cities continue to experience rapid urbanisation and population growth, there is greater pressure than ever before on our urban environments. However, by using 5G technology it is possible to create a safer and more sustainable city. 

The Continuous Urban Scanner (CURBS) has been developed to help monitor the built environment and automatically highlight any issues on the road or kerbside. 

By using 5G-enabled LiDAR scanners retrofitted to vehicles such as busses or trams, CURBS can provide real-time 3D mapping and monitoring data. It can also report accidents or near misses, improving road safety. Read more >

GoMedia, Wordnerds and Icomera – Passenger Management

‘Passenger Management’ by Wordnerds and GoMedia aims to solve some of the problems seen on public transport. By using integrated 5G routers, passengers can feed concerns or issues directly to Transport for West Midlands and the service operators. 

This provides a landmark opportunity to improve both passenger safety and their overall experience by ensuring that operators are aware of the needs and feelings of their passengers. 

The project will initially run for 12 months from September 2020 with the aim to have up to five trams equipped with a 5G router within the first 18 weeks. Read more >

AppyWay and Get Mapping – Predikt

There are three important questions that every motorist has to ask as they plan a journey: Where do I park? Is there a space? How do I pay? 

The eight minutes on average it takes every day to find a space in a city like Birmingham are part of life’s everyday irritations, however it all adds up with an estimated economic cost of £373 million every year in wasted time, fuel and emissions. 

Predkit will cut-down journey times by proving a scalable parking availability solution that will build an accurate and reliable predictive model so before someone sets off on their journey, they will know exactly where they should go for available parking that meets their needs. Read more >

GoMedia and Icomera – Transport Accessibility

Over 40% of the visually impaired in the UK are unable to make all or some of their journeys on public transport independently, which represents a substantial 2 million people. 

Transport Accessibility looks to solve the problem of a lack of information for those who need more help when travelling on the UK public transport network. 

It will provide timely and accurate information to passengers that need additional assistance while in a station or using services, providing more independence to the visually impaired whilst travelling across the public transport network. Read more >

Icomera, West Midlands Metro, Classone Systems, DigitalRail, Vodafone, and Innovate UK – Tram Safety and Security

Tram Safety is a project operated by Digital Rail, which is aiming to provide a cutting-edge CCTV Video analytics system. Designed to solve existing inefficiencies and increased automation of services, Tram Safety can stream live video to staff over 5G, automatically alerting them when their help may be required, or when there may be a safety issue.

The project will drastically improve both the stations and the trams themselves, adding innovative technology to a system that can become safer and more efficient. 

The project will take place over nine months, during which it will be deployed onto West Midlands Metro trams for comprehensive testing. Read more >

You. Smart. Thing., Landmrk, Imagemakers, and Oodl – Urban Tourism 5.0

Urban Tourism 5.0 is using 5G technologies to deliver a next generation ‘Travel Assistant’ service. It will help the recovery of the leisure and live events sector, incentivising advance journey planning by providing creative and engaging rich media navigation to and from venues and events as they come back on stream.

Using 5G-enabled sensors at stations and major venues combined with booking and travel information, will create forecast and real-time traveller demand insights for rail and road transport network operators. ‘Last mile’ routes to destinations and investigations into how to influence travellers will be explored, in order to improve the overall visitor experience for event attendees.

The project timescale is 18 months starting in September 2020 and going until February 2022. The focus and test bed of the project is Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 events that start in April and run in to 2022. Read more >

A second round of the funding competition for 5G-enabled road and rail trials closes on Wednesday 2nd December 2020 at 11:00am. A share of up to £2.5 million is available to UK registered businesses.

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