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West Midlands 5G allocates £2.4 million for transport projects


Mark Say Managing Editor

West Midlands 5G (WM5G) has announced the allocation of £2.4 million among seven UK based consortia to support the development of new transport solutions.

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It comes in the first round of programme, set up by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), to support projects on the use of 5G to improve road and rail operational efficiency, provide better connected transport or improve passenger experiences.

Chris Lane, head of transport innovation at regional transport authority Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), said: “We have ambitious transport plans for the region and funding competition with West Midlands 5G forms a key part of that.

“The outcome of these trials will make a significant difference to transport across the region and have national relevance. This news further reinforces the West Midlands’ reputation as one of the UK’s number one locations for both 5G and transport innovation.”

The projects to win support and the organisations involved are as follows:

  • Capacity Manager – Blacc, Immense, Elgin, University of Warwick, and O2 – A traffic management solution in which live traffic data is transferred in real time over 5G to a dynamic road network model. It will combine with artificial intelligence to provide real time insights on incidents and congestion.
  • CURBS – Vortex IoT, National Express, BT/EE – Using Lidar sensors and advanced software, real time 3D point cloud data will be sent over 5G to provide up-to-date and detailed maps, monitoring roads and rail infrastructure. This can provide information on parking, pothole and cycling safety.
  • Passenger Management – GoMedia, Wordnerds and Icomera – An AI led system provides intelligence in interpretation of live customer feedback over 5G, aimed at helping to solve problems.
  • Predikt – AppyWay and Getmapping – A predictive parking system that uses 5G enabled kerbside imaging to reduce the amount of time spent finding a parking space.
  • Transport Accessibility – GoMedia and Icomera – Using 5G to create a passenger service that will allow more visually impaired people to travel on public transport.
  • Tram Safety – Icomera, Classone Systems, DigitalRa – 5G streaming of CCTV footage from trams to be analysed in real time to detect people and objects in order to improve passenger safety and support social distancing.
  • Urban Tourism – You. Smart. Thing., Landmrk, Imagemakers, and Oodl – Creating traveller demand insights using 5G enabled sensors at stations and major venues combined with booking and travel information.

The projects are scheduled to run until the end of 2021 and will include trialling the services in the West Midlands region.

Applications for a second £2.5 million round of funding are being taken up to 2 December. DCMS expects to invest over £20 million in this programme, in addition to West Midlands public sector and private investment.

Image by Kelvin Sklee, CC BY 2.0

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