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Transport for London to use smart tech for roads management

TfL network management centre

Transport for London (TfL) has announced plans to use two technology solutions from its RoadLab challenge to make roads management smarter and safer.

One involves artificial intelligence software from samdesk to harness anonymised social media data to detect incidents on the roads and alert TfL staff of any emerging disruptions, enabling them to respond more quickly and with better information.

The other is software from Immense for modelling the impact of roadworks on journeys before they begin.

TfL said the technology will contribute to reducing congestion and reducing air pollution in London.

RoadLab was launched as an innovation challenge in 2019 with nine projects chosen for a 10-week programme with the support of London Councils and major utility companies. It has now been followed by procurements for the samdesk and Immense solutions.

TfL is now working with the companies with the aim of implementing their software in the coming months.

Its head of commercial innovation Rikesh Shah said: “London's road network plays an absolutely vital role in keeping the capital moving and we’re always looking for innovative ways of making our streets safer, smarter and more sustainable. Our RoadLab programme has shown how the public and private sector can work together to create smart solutions to London’s transport problems.

Great results

"The technology developed by both samdesk and Immense builds on the great results we achieved following the research and development work with during RoadLab. This delivered nine innovative solutions in 10 weeks, an astounding effort for both the public and private sector which we hope to build on in future innovation challenges."

The RoadLab challenge was funded by TfL’s Lane Rental scheme, which charges roadworks companies for digging up busy roads at times that cause significant disruption.

It is TfL’s first use of an innovation partnership procedure, on which it worked with Plexal, an innovation centre based in London’s Olympic Park.

Image from TfL

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