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DfT spreads cash for smarter transport



Department allocates seed funding for digital projects aimed at improving road, rail and freight management

A collection of digital projects for better transport – ranging from the development of a gamification app to using radio for broadband on trains – have won allocations of seed funding from the Department for Transport (DfT).

They have taken shares of £833,000 for early stage science, engineering or technology innovations under the department’s Transport Technology Research and Innovation Grants (T-Trig) scheme.

While the awards are relatively small, averaging around £25,000, they indicate an intention to support new approaches to managing road, rail and freight networks around the UK.

The DfT has also set up an Innovation Challenge Fund, worth approximately £1 million, to invest in the development of promising technology areas.

Applications for the funds were made back in July, and the digital winners include:

  • Nicander (£24,900) to develop a mobile app and web service that integrates the management of travel incidents, assets, technology faults and data analysis around travel delays.
  • Zipabout (£38,800) for an API software toolkit for bus and train operators to provide personalised advice to travellers.
  • Ove Arup & Partners (£49,900) to investigate ways of combining real time in-vehicle data with existing traffic data feeds to improve highways management and journey times.
  • The Open University (£24,900) to use novel radio nodes to provide broadband connectivity for trains.
  • WaveReach (£25,000) to develop sensors to collect real time data on the rural road network.
  • The University of Sheffield (£22,600) to apply new computing techniques in simulations on the impact of investment in the strategic road network.
  • University College London (£25,000), which is working on a web based system to visualise real time movements of intermodal freight.
  • Modalgo (£24,700) for a mobile gamification app and platform to track people’s travel by mode.
  • University of Southampton and Egremont Group (£36,000), developing and applying big data analyses to checkpoint performance to support security.

Transport Minister John Hayes said: “This government is committed to delivering a much better transport system, and innovation is a vital part of that. We are already making headway and expect to see more smart ideas and technologies coming from this funding.

“Through these schemes, small businesses and academics gain access to much needed financial support allowing them to explore new ideas and move innovations on to the next stage of development.”

The DfT added that it is opening a competition for another round of funding worth approximately £700,000.

Image by Derek Harper, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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