£2.4m investment to transform transport across the region

West Midlands 5G Limited (WM5G) is set to invest £2.4m in seven consortiums to support the development of new products and services with the of aim improving transport across the region.

Following the first phase of a funding competition, WM5G will deliver innovation projects that if successful will either provide a use case to improve road and rail operational efficiency, provide better-connected transport, or improve passenger experiences.

WM5G is the company creating a 5G network in the West Midlands and the transport projects are scheduled to run until the end of 2021. Some are set to complete ahead of that deadline but each project will include trialling and testing of their service in the West Midlands region.

WM5G was created by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to develop the UK’s first region-wide 5G testbed. DCMS expects to invest over £20m in the programme, in addition to substantial West Midlands public sector and private investment.

The winning projects from the first round of the competition are:

Capacity Manager – Blacc, Immense, Elgin, University of Warwick, and O2
A traffic management solution in which live traffic data is transferred in real-time over 5G to a dynamic road network model.

CURBS – Vortex IoT, National Express, BT/EE
Using Lidar sensors and advanced software, real-time 3D point-cloud data will be sent over 5G to provide up-to-date and detailed maps, monitoring roads and rail infrastructure. Following a successful trial, the system will provide live on-street parking information, identify the location of potholes, improve cyclist safety, reduce vehicle damage, and more.

Passenger Management – GoMedia, Wordnerds and Icomera
An AI-led system – designed to improve passenger experiences and safety by providing intelligence in interpretation of live customer feedback over 5G. Immediate problems can be resolved and a database of categorised issues will provide insights for the operator to improve services.

Predikt – AppyWay and Getmapping
A predictive parking system that uses 5G-enabled kerbside imaging to reduce the amount of time spent finding a parking space.

Transport Accessibility – GoMedia and Icomera

A project that could create a passenger service that will allow more visually impaired people to travel on public transport, helping to develop the transport system of the future for all.

Tram Safety – Icomera, Classone Systems, DigitalRail
Using 5G to stream CCTV footage from trams, images will be analysed real-time to detect people and objects. This will help to increase passenger safety, assist with social distancing, and identify where improvements to accessibility may be required.

Urban Tourism – You. Smart. Thing., Landmrk, Imagemakers, and Oodl
Using 5G-enabled sensors at stations and major venues, combined with booking and travel information, real-time traveller demand insights for rail and road networks will be created by this project.

A second round of the funding competition for 5G-enabled road and rail trials closes on Wednesday 2 December. A share of up to an additional £2.5m is available to UK registered businesses.

For more information on each project visit https://www.wm5g.org.uk/.