Transport for London (TfL) has partnered with Plexal, the innovation centre based at Here East, to deliver a programme aimed at making London’s streets smarter and safer.
Innovators joining the London RoadLab will receive funds and expert advice to scale solutions at pilot sites during a 10-week programme.
The initiative is in line with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, which aims to tackle pollution and congestion while encouraging more active travel as London’s population expands from 8.7 million to 10.5 million over the next 25 years.
Applications are now open, closing at 12pm on 26th November and are encouraged to focus on new and previously untested solutions that address three key challenge areas.
The first is ‘Inclusive’ to ensure streets are accessible to all Londoners. Next is ‘Safer’, looking at how to minimise the health and safety risks for workers and the public even further during roadworks and the final area is ‘Smarter’, which will look at smart technologies.
Applicants should have a working prototype and the solution should be something that’s not previously been used in a roadworks environment.
After a multi-stage selection process, the successful applicants will embark on a 10-week programme in early 2019.
Members will receive mentoring, access to TfL data, bespoke support and funding. They will also be given the option to pilot infrastructure prototypes on test sites.
At the end of the programme, members will pitch their ideas to TfL and its partners, and be considered for contracts.
The funding for the programme comes from TfL’s Lane Rental Scheme, which has minimised the disruption caused by roadworks since 2012 by applying a daily charge to hotspots during peak hours.
Since Lane Rental was introduced in 2012, there has been a 194 per cent increase in companies working at the same site, at the same time and a 31 per cent rise in planned utility works at night. Without the scheme, the extra disruption would have cost approximately £95m in lost travel time.
“With London RoadLab, TfL is taking a bold approach by trying something new and co-creating solutions with the market,” said Plexal chief innovation officer Tony Markovski.
“I hope this becomes a new model for public sector procurement where the innovation community is brought into the process early on.”