The Sustainable Transport Challenge

Organisation Name Smart Cambridge
Main contact Dan Clarke
Name of challenge The Sustainable Transport Challenge: Achieving a move to more sustainable transport and behavioural change in Cambridge passenger transport
Brief summary of challenge Severe congestion at peak times is impacting the quality of life for Cambridge residents and employees and recognised as a significant barrier to continued economic growth. To address this issue we need to get travellers out of their cars and onto more sustainable modes of transport. To achieve this we need to begin to use sensors and data better to nudge behaviours and adapt infrastructure and to fill gaps in understanding particularly data on cycle/pedestrian patterns.

Cambridge is growing rapidly with 35,000 homes planned to be build in the next 15 years which will create an additional 44,000 jobs.  The historic nature of the city means that the road network is constrained and many of the large employment sites are situated either on the edge of the city or just outside. The road network around Cambridge and linking employment sites is almost at capacity. If we carry on as we are by 2031 commuters will spend twice as long in congestion.

The key challenge is vehicle reduction: a reduction in the number of vehicles in the city (absorbing the impact of Cambridge’s growth and additionally making a 10 to 15% reduction in 2011 numbers.

The benefits to be gained from addressing this challenge are… There are significant quality of life benefits, congestion means many people are wasting unproductive hours sat in cars. This is a key concern for employers as it impacts on staff retention. A reduction in congestion will help to address the issues of pollution the city faces particularly in the city centre.
There will also be significant economic benefit as congestion impacts on productivity and if unaddressed will mean that Cambridge is less attractive to new companies looking to relocate to the city.
Any work already done and status Smart Cambridge has already deployed a test bed IoT infrastructure and is begin to sort through the data the organisation has obtained, to look at how it can be used to nudge behaviour. We have developed a travel planning app, lobby screen and wayfinding totem and are doing work looking at predictive analytics.
Success would look like… A clear link between the solutions proposed and travellers switching from the car to more sustainable modes by reducing friction in the transport system and helping people make better more informed choices.
Support available
  • CCC can provide advice and support on the transport challenges as well as access to static data and infrastructure.
  • The Smart Cambridge programme has a network that includes local government, central government, other cities and access to tech mentors and VC funders that we would use to support the development of your idea. Our network includes big tech players like Amazon and Microsoft as well as small companies who lead the field in transport innovation and we have close relationships with networks such as Cambridge Wireless and Cambridge Network.
  • University of Cambridge can provide help and support on accessing the cities IoT infrastructure and real time data
  • We have a good understanding of current funding opportunities and can help to develop funding bids.
Key skills and technology sought
  • Data collection and analytics (particularly collecting transport flow data cycles, pedestrian traffic etc)
  • Machine learning and AI
  • Uses of blockchain for micropayments
  • App development
  • Behavioural science
  • An understanding of transport systems
Key attributes of successful challenge teams Willing to work collaboratively with the Cambridge ecosystem.
An understanding of how new and emerging technologies can be deployed in cities to address challenges
Wanting to move to an actual trial deployment within the city.

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Thanks to the Bradfield Centre for hosting us!