Tech Lab and Open Data launch

10 Days Ago 5th Jul

Nusrat Ghani, Department for Transport, launching the Tech Lab

We’ve now launched our Tech Lab – a creative space for development of new apps, technology and ideas to improve transport in Reading.

Our Tech Lab, accessible 24/7 for development partners, gives working space and a meeting room for developers, technologists and young companies to nurture their ideas to make journeys better.

We already have six successful ‘early projects’ underway by the Tech Lab:

  • A tree branch strike detector for double deck buses
  • An automated bot running on Twitter
  • A 3D printer almost 2m tall
  • Seat sensor work 
  • Using big data to influence future service planning using Vecatre and Cityswifter

We’re also appealing for future Tech Lab partners for projects which can improve journey experience for passengers when on public transport.

The Tech Lab was launched by Nusrat Ghani MP, Buses Minister, in a ceremony at our depot in Reading.

Ms Ghani also launched the Government’s consultation on requiring bus companies to share their data, as we do, so that passengers across the country have the information they need to catch the bus with ease.

This is the beginning for more of these exciting partnerships

We don't know where this may lead, some projects may not be successful, but we're willing to take some risk, disrupt ourselves and try something new for the potential benefits. It’s not just tech start-ups, we are looking for either – it could be individual developers with a big idea, students with an interest in technology or existing businesses who want to increase their scope.

Projects might shape our on-board environment, change how people use apps to plan their journeys or control our costs and risks - we want people to get in touch with their ideas and collaborate with us.

The Tech Lab enables us to step up our innovation work with existing tech suppliers and industry partners

Connected technology produces data which can be shared across different systems to inform customers, operators and manufacturers about vehicles and journeys. We're so proud of the work from our partners so far and looking forward to much more.

The Tech Lab space features areas in the room to represent a bus stop (with a real-time information display), a bus arriving (with the front of a bus, a ticket machine and a destination display), and the interior of a bus (with seating, flooring and the screens for visual and audio announcements).

Partners have access to our #opendata server giving live journey information to integrate with third-party systems, as well as facilities and the wider business network. The Tech Lab provides routes to investment and routes to market for successful ventures too.

We’re offering partnerships without any fees or hidden commitments, hoping to attract the best new ideas by providing a ready customer and a route to the market.

Interested partners should contact [email protected] with an outline of their idea or request. Developers can also request access to the open data server at http://rtl2.ods-live.co.uk/cms/register

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