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Transport for West Midlands and Vodafone agree on 5G MoU


Mark Say Managing Editor

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has agreed with Vodafone on a memorandum of understanding to support the use of 5G in developing new transport systems for the region.

Andy Street and Anne Sheehan at desk

Regional industry accelerator West Midlands 5G (WM5G) is also involved in the initiative, which involves the partners sharing information and expertise on using the expanding 5G network.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “I want the West Midlands to be at the forefront of 5G, using the technology to find new ways of working, travelling and staying connected. And when it comes to travel we are not just investing billions in rail, trams and bus technology, but, through our Future Transport Zone and 5G Testbed, we are looking to lead the way on developing the transport systems of the future.

“It’s exciting to think about what we can achieve in this area moving forward, and I am delighted we have been able to sign this new partnership with Vodafone.”

Live projects

WM5G has already launched two mobility projects.

The Kerbside Parking Availability Trial is testing the concept of 5G enabled identification of the availability of parking spaces. A series of trials have taken place in the Sparkhill area with the support parking technology provider AppyWay,and have shown the potential to improve journey times and the flow of traffic, and reduce congestion in urban areas.

The second project is a trial of connected trams, on which WM5G has been working with infotainment provider GoMedia, to provide high resolution video footage through CCTV systems. This could help to maintain social distancing on public transport.

Vodafone Business director Anne Sheehan said: “We believe 5G has the potential to revolutionise transport. Its ultra-high bandwidth and low latency are perfect for real time interactions that will underpin solutions to some of the biggest transport issues we face today, such as congestion and emission levels.”

TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, was awarded £22 million of Future Transport Zone funding to work with universities and industry on new technologies.

The West Midlands also has a 5G testbed to accelerate the deployment of networks and develop new services based on the technology.

Image: Mayor Andy Street signs the MoU with director of Vodafone business Anne Sheehan (photo taken in March 2020 before lockdown)

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