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Government launches £2 million transport location data competition

The Geospatial Commission has partnered with Innovate UK to create a new £2 million competition which will look at how location data can spark innovation and support the future of mobility for the United Kingdom.

Smarter mobility solutions, underpinned by location data, will enable us to make the most of our transport networks by boosting capacity, reducing environmental impacts and decreasing travel times. This competition aims to stimulate commercial innovation to help create geospatial solutions to our transport challenges and support the future of mobility. The competition has four themes:

  • Mobility as a service - to help better integration of transport modes
  • Active travel - creating safer ways to enable active travel
  • Supply chains - helping better distribution, storage and delivery
  • Boosting capacity - increasing efficiency of transport networks

Examples of projects that could be awarded funding include:

  • Sensors that can support safer transport.
  • Making better use of kerbside space for deliveries.
  • Near-miss identification tools to identify risk early on.
  • Geospatial tools to inform balanced infrastructure investment that supports social and environmental outcomes.
  • Apps that integrate a range of location data sources to provide new joined up services to transport users.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Lord True CBE said “Location data and technology will help improve transport services, enabling the efficient delivery of new networks and transport corridors. Location data helps connect people with the jobs they need, the goods and services they want, and the places they want to go. This competition will help position the UK as a global science superpower, and start to unlock £2 billion of economic value per year in our transport sector.”

Minister for Transport Rachel Maclean yesterday said

“Data is key for innovation in transport to flourish. Whether helping manage our transport networks, or rolling out connected autonomous vehicles, data is helping provide the new digital tools to change how we travel.

“I’m excited to see the winners of this competition and how they will make our journeys of the future easier, cleaner and more efficient.”

Dr Ian Campbell, Executive Chair, Innovate UK added

“As the UK’s Innovation Agency, Innovate UK is tasked with delivering measurable economic and societal impact across the UK. I am delighted that we are delivering this potentially game-changing competition, cementing the UK’s reputation as a world leader in shaping the future of mobility. There is clear demand for innovation and we are utilising the proven Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) process to bring together transport challenges and innovators in order to deliver novel solutions.”

This competition follows the publication in June of the UK Geospatial Strategy, Unlocking the power of location. Under the strategy the Geospatial Commission will maximise the commercial opportunities for innovation and promote market-wide adoption of high value emerging location technologies.

About the competition

  • the competition will open on 29 September 2020 and the deadline for applications is midday on 4 November 2020.
  • the competition is open to UK-based organisations from a business of any size, academic organisation or higher education institute, charity, public sector organisation or local authority, public sector research establishment, research council institute or a research and technology organisation
  • there will be a virtual briefing event on 8 October.
  • the Small Business Research Initiative will harness the power of public procurement to drive innovation, solve transport challenges and modernise services. It is a key part of delivering on our commitment to economic and societal impact
  • successful applicants will be notified later in December 2020

Notes for Editors

What is the Geospatial Commission?

The Geospatial Commission was established in 2018 as an independent, expert committee responsible for setting the UK’s geospatial strategy and coordinating public sector geospatial activity. Its aim is to unlock the significant economic, social and environmental opportunities offered by location data and to boost the UK’s global geospatial expertise.

What is this competition?

This is a £2m Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition funded by the Geospatial Commission and organised in partnership with InnovateUK. The Geospatial Commission was set up with the mandate to unlock an estimated £6-11bn p.a. from the better use of geospatial data. This competition aims to unlock some of this value in the transport by stimulating market-led geospatial innovation in the transport sector, against 4 key challenge areas:

  • Enabling mobility as a service.
  • Promoting active travel.
  • Optimising supply chains.
  • Increasing capacity.

Who is this competition for?

This competition is open to projects from any private sector organisation or consortium in or outside the UK. Projects must identify a UK public sector strategic customer (such as a local authority) to sponsor each solution. Additionally, projects must demonstrate reasonable use of geospatial data & technology. Examples of this could include:

  • Earth observation and satellite-derived data
  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning (AI/ML) algorithms applied to spatial datasets
  • Internet of Things (IoT) sensors capturing spatial information
  • Surveying, 3-D laser scanning or spatial imaging
  • Advanced Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis or geo-visualization and environment modelling

How will it stimulate market-led geospatial innovation?

SBRI competitions are a tried and tested method for encouraging innovative solutions to public sector challenges. They provide a dedicated procurement route for innovative SMEs who might not otherwise have access to funding opportunities or be crowded out by larger firms.

What is Innovate UK?

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. For more information, visit the UK Research and Innovation website


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