Big Win for Local Business and FEP

On 7 January 2021, the Geospatial Commission in partnership with Innovate UK announced their 28 winners of the £2M transport location data competition. Stakeholders and project leader, Rural Technologies Ltd is one of the winners with its MERGeS feasibility project. While FEP is an important project partner to help gain feedback from the district.

The Competition Details

The competition looks at how location data can spark innovation and support the future of mobility. Smarter mobility solutions, underpinned by location data, will enable the UK to make the most of our transport networks by boosting capacity, reducing environmental impacts and decreasing travel times. All vital needs in districts like the Forest

Its aim is to develop feasibility studies to help create geospatial solutions to our transport challenges and support the future of mobility across four themes of which two are of particular interest:

  • Mobility as a service - to help better integration of transport types.
  • Boosting capacity - increasing efficiency of transport networks.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Lord True CBE, identified the economic potential of these feasibility projects. They “will help the government unlock £2B of economic value in our transport sector to improve services, enabling the efficient delivery of new networks and transport corridors connecting people to the jobs they need, the goods and services they want, and the places they want to go”.

Where do FEP come in?

Since FEP began 3 years ago, the Transport & Infrastructure Sub-group has had as its aim that “The District Plan guides future development that gives us the space to work, live and play. Once those uses are known we can consider the transport routes in the District to enable them to become fit for purpose.”

In fact, transport is such as critical issue that it has been an ongoing theme in not only one, but all three of the sub-groups. Transport & Infrastructure have been looking at what the District would like public transport to look if they had the chance to model it.

What was proposed in early 2020 was a ground zero approach. Ignore historical solutions and allow the inhabitants and workers in the district to tell us their transport needs when they are working, shopping, or in leisure or education modes.

As a part of the winning bid FEP will be working together with Rural Technologies to gather and understand those needs.

Everyone Wins

This funding is a substantial win not only for a tech start-up and FEP, but the district as a whole. Look out for our survey launches later this month.

Andrew Callard of Rural Technologies said: “MaaS is a critical concept to get to net-zero carbon in time. Yet, it is difficult to apply in rural areas. While the countryside is a hive of economic activity across all sectors, it faces major obstacles of inflexible supply and demand for transport. Rural areas need transport solutions that work together and give real choice to individuals on how to get from A to B. This project starts by asking people what they need in the Forest of Dean”