TfL data supports three smart transport pilots

A trio of start-ups have found partners to develop the use of data to support new approaches to transport under the Nitrous programme

Three pilot programmes using Transport for London (TfL) data for new approaches to transport are in the pipeline, with the possibility of three more to follow.

Cyclists on busy roadTfL has announced that six start-ups have completed a three-month innovation programme and that plans are being developed for three to go to a pilot phase.

It marks the latest stage in the Nitrous programme, run by the Tech City Ventures network of companies, aimed at supporting start-ups with ideas to make things easier for transport passengers or reduce emissions.

The start-ups have gone through sales and marketing masterclasses and been able to speak with potential investors and TfL’s transport innovation team. They also had access to its open data hub and other data resources.

Machine learning ambition

TfL has committed itself to one of the pilots, working with Alchera Technologies on a computer vision and machine learning platform using real time data to improve safety and reduce congestion on London’s roads.

Blubel is working with bicycle manufacturer Brompton Bikes on a cycling navigator, including satnav in the bike’s bell, which learns the safest routes from the cycling community.

Pedals is being supported insurance company Axa on a system to support deliveries by bicycle.

George Johnston, chief executive officer of Nitrous, told UKAuthority the other three start-ups all “have a pipeline” and that it is possible their ideas could also be taken to pilot phase. They are:

  • Faxi, a smartphone app and technology platform to support ride sharing with the incentive of priority parking.
  • NumberEight, artificial intelligence software that can draw on data from the internet of things to support smart mobility.
  • TravelAi, which crowdsources and analyses data on travel behaviour. It can provide insights for travel managers and tools for customers.

“This programme has been invaluable for each founder by helping them to get their product-market fit right - through making product tweaks and being clearer about their target markets and future opportunities,” Johnston said.

“This has come from having conversations with decision makers - doing this at such an early stage is a unique focus for us, and with three pilots already in discussion, we know it’s an effective approach.”

Real difference

Val Shawcross, deputy mayor for transport in London, said: “With more than 40% of Londoners using apps and websites to plan their journeys, these start-ups can make a real difference in helping Londoners choose to use public transport, walk and cycle.

“It’s exactly the type of innovative work that we want to see as part of the mayor’s transport strategy to deliver a fairer, greener, healthier and more prosperous city.”

Image by Tejvan Pettinger, CC BY 2.0 through flickr