Transport for London (TfL) has announced the winners of its London RoadLab innovation challenge that aims to develop new technologies that could help to make the UK capital’s roads safer and smarter during roadworks.
Working in partnership with Plexal, the innovation centre based at Here East and utility companies, suppliers were invited to pitch ideas for tackling some of the biggest problems caused by roadworks last year. Nine innovative solutions were shortlisted and awarded £20,000 each.
They joined a ten week programme and worked closely with subject matter experts across TfL, London Councils and the utilities to further develop products that could have a positive impact right across the capital.
Following the ten week programme, four products have been chosen to be taken through to the contract negotiations stage with a total value of up to £2m. These include:
- Immense Simulations – Developing an automated way of modelling the impacts of roadworks before they are done, which will improve the flow of traffic and reduce disruption. This modelling is traditionally a very time-consuming process
- Mobilized Construction and Route Reports – Two different solutions that fit internet enabled devices to TfL buses and Dial-a-Ride vehicles and collect data on road quality. This would allow TfL to identify where the road surface is wearing out in real-time and would make it much easier to predict where maintenance will be needed ahead of time. This data could also help the London Boroughs with their highway maintenance activity
- SAM – Using artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor social media to identify incidents and emergency events on the roads. This could make it easier for TfL to respond to incidents more quickly
The London RoadLab programme is the first time TfL has used an innovation partnership procedure, a new way of working with the private sector which allows TfL to find ways of tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the capital.
This procedure has been developed to make it easier for the public sector to encourage innovation from start-ups or large companies without hampering competition or transparency.