By Gavin Mackintosh-
The Department Of Transport has announced an offer of £1m of Innovative transport start-ups with a focus on decarbonisation or COVID-19 recovery .
The Department says its industrial strategy aims to make the UK a world leader in its mobility of people, goods and services, now and in the future, with the potential to achieve a safer, cleaner and more user-centred transport, efficiently utilising funding from the Department for Transport.
The Department said that the Transport-Technology Research and Innovation Grants (T-TRIG) is open to entrepreneurs and innovators pioneering new ways of creating a better transport system. Over 60% of grants so far have been awarded to SMEs, and 30% to universities. The role Universities have played through the funding has not been clarified.
One of the objectives of the scheme is to improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole of the Uk. However, no mention has been made in reference to time keeping of Britain’s transport system.
A performance report in September 2019, revealed that a third of British rail services failed to reach its destinations on time in the 12 months running up to that period. Higher standards were at the time set that required trains to arrive within a minute of the timetable, to be regarded as being punctual. Previously, trains were allowed up to 10 minutes to arrive within the time table, to be considered punctual.
Any funding to the transport system will be expected to contribute to achieving a high rate of punctuality by British railway trains.
The Department Of Transport considers the upgrading of the the British transport infrastructure to be an integrated network that underpins both the daily lives and development of the economy, thereby helping connect communities and businesses deliver balanced growth across the country.
Funding from the department has already been used to develop transformational projects like the A14 and HS2 and aspire to a new west runway at Heathrow Airport . The injection of this extra cash is expected to enhance the global competitiveness of the Uk, by making Britain a more attractive place to trade and invest.
Start Ups And Policymakers
T-TRIG brings together talented start-ups and policymakers at the earliest stages of innovation, and by issuing targeted investments of up to £30,000 for each project. The fund will help budding entrepreneurs and academics propel their ideas to market quicker.
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said: ”As we continue to follow our greenprint for a transport recovery from COVID-19, it is imperative we work with startups at the cutting edge of technology to help us build back more sustainably and today’s competition launch will do exactly that.
That’s why supporting innovation is a priority for this government, as we start to travel again safely while also seeking to solve the complex challenge of decarbonising transport”.
Assistance To Blind And Partially Sighted People
Wayfindr was able to develop a system that helps blind and partially sighted people navigate towns and cities using Bluetooth-enabled beacons and smartphones. Infinect, which received T-TRIG funding in 2017, has developed a new satellite antenna to provide reliable high-speed broadband to rail journeys, significantly improving the passenger experience.
Investment from this fund has often led to funding from private investors. Over £25 million in additional investment, largely from the private sector, has been secured off the back of successful projects awarded funding since the scheme began.
George Goussetis, Principle Investigator for Infinect, said:”In addition to providing the resource, T-TRIG gave us the credibility and confidence to focus our efforts on addressing the needs of the railway sector using satellite technology.
This in turn has led to further funding successes that are supporting technological and commercial developments and we are presently quite excited to be part of an ecosystem that looks to solve tomorrow’s problems with tomorrow’s technology.
T-TRIG 2020 was announced during a roundtable held by Transport Minister Rachel Maclean where she heard about the challenges small businesses face today in commercialising new technology, products and services. The SMEs involved also met with senior government representatives and policy makers, who are actively invested in helping the UK economy thrive by supporting our community.
The Minister also announced at the roundtable a separate £500,000 competition to fund the development of products or services that would improve the ability for disabled people to use the transport network. Bids for the Accessibility-Technology Research Innovation Grant (A-TRIG) will be open until the end of November.