Transforming public transport in Manchester

Cisco and partners have today announced they have been awarded a grant from InnovateUK to enable demand-based public transport services in Greater Manchester

Transforming public transport in Manchester

'Our primary purpose is to keep this city region moving. The challenges that we face are not unique to Greater Manchester, every city region around the world strives to provide transport services in more efficient and ecological ways'

Manchester is a vibrant city region and hub for the North of England. But with a population of nearly 2.8 million and a growing city economy, urban traffic congestion is becoming a major issue and challenge, especially when multiple city events take place on the same day.

Cisco and its partners, Purple, Proxama, Movement Strategies, Transport for Greater Manchester and Sustainable Environment Ltd are pleased to announce that they have been awarded a grant from InnovateUK to deliver a proof of concept solution that will enable Transport for Greater Manchester to better address the challenge of providing transport services to fit demand.

The CitySpire proof of concept will see the development of context-aware location-based services, built on anonymised data from multiple sources, including Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi networks.

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Interpretation and analysis of that data will enable CitySpire to present groups of passengers to flexible and shared demand-responsive transport company, Simply Connect.

The initiative will aim to prove the value of an enhanced booking capability not currently available to existing popular ride-sharing services, such as UberPool and BlaBlaCar.

CitySpire will be led by Cisco CREATE, the company’s Collaborative Research and Emerging Technologies division – working with government, industry, research institutions and startups to accelerate innovation.

The proof of concept aims to ensure that passengers do not have to fit their mobility into, or plan their lives around, fixed schedules.

Simon Ho, senior innovation officer, Transport for Greater Manchester commented “Our primary purpose is to keep this city region moving. The challenges that we face are not unique to Greater Manchester, every city region around the world strives to provide transport services in more efficient and ecological ways. Our aim in CitySpire is to harness the power of data to have a positive impact on the way we travel in and around Greater Manchester. We’re excited to be working with some fantastic partners on this initiative, and look forward to what it can enable for our transport partners.”

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Neil Brown, director, sustainable environment Ltd, added: “Our Simply Connect on-demand, flexible, affordable travel service for everyone is only possible because of advances in ICT. CitySpire will enhance this possibility, by proving the value of data in changing travel behaviour. CitySpire offers Simply Connect a means to both boost patronage of our services, both in Manchester and in other locations, and to make our service provision more personalised and beneficial to our users.”

As part of the initiative, the proof of concept will also look to generate insight from data gathered to inform other crucial functions in Manchester, whether planning departments, large event organisers or agencies charged with public safety and security.

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