TfL appoints Mercedes-Benz and Sopra Steria to co-develop transport solutions

Transport for London has announced that Mercedes-Benz AG and Sopra Steria have been successfully appointed as partners on its new Innovation Collaboration Framework.

The four-year framework will look to directly address key transport challenges such as achieving sustainability, making public transport safer and helping services become more efficient and reliable.

Mercedes-Benz AG is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of luxury passenger cars. The company focuses on the development, production and sales of passenger cars, vans and vehicle-related services. The company also aspires to be the leader in the fields of electric mobility and vehicle software. Within the company, the Mercedes-Benz Data initiative develops, bundles, and distributes innovative data solutions related to Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

Sopra Steria is a purpose-led digital transformation specialist with considerable knowledge and expertise within the transport sector. This includes partnering with TfL to provide a range of innovative services, such as London’s world-leading traffic management system.

Through the framework, TfL and the innovation partners will work together to create new concepts and products to help improve how people move around and to make the city a better place to live. By creating this framework, TfL says it can build long-term mutually beneficial partnerships with these companies and tap into valuable research and development investment, in return for access to TfL’s support to create solutions. Unlike conventional procurement, the ICF allows TfL and the selected innovators to work on the most challenging problems as they emerge, taking a solution from concept to scale.

It is also designed to enable these partners to test new products on the TfL network, allowing solutions to be assessed in a real-world environment and create opportunities to scale products in the future. London is a great proving ground for new innovations and showing they can work here will also demonstrate how they could work in other cities.

The framework was developed as the result of listening to innovators to help find a new way of working together that’s beneficial to both TfL and the partners, and then in turn to those living and working in London. It will also provide a new, simplified route to bring in investment, new ideas and scale them to benefit TfL and Londoners.

The two partners will also be able to reach out to other innovators including start-ups, academics, and small/medium enterprises to harness their ideas and expertise. By creating this framework, the time it takes to develop solutions should be reduced as partners can help identify appropriate innovators to address problems as they arise.

The ICF does not involve any cost to the taxpayer until the solutions are developed and creates potential from TfL to earn revenue from the innovations that result from it. Once successful products are developed and tested, the framework offers opportunities for TfL and relevant partners to commercialise them in overseas markets, helping to bring in additional revenue that can be invested into the TfL network.

Thomas Ableman, Director of Strategy and Innovation at TfL, said: “TfL has ambitious goals to make London a more sustainable city. Neither Londoners nor the climate crisis will wait, so we need to move faster than ever before. The Innovation Collaboration Framework is a completely new way for us to work with the innovation marketplace and we’re really excited to welcome Mercedes-Benz AG and Sopra Steria as partners on this exciting new journey.”

Deputy Mayor for Transport, Seb Dance, said: “Making London’s transport network safer and more sustainable is a key priority for the Mayor, which is why we welcome this new framework agreement between TfL, Mercedes-Benz AG and Sopra Steria. This exciting new collaboration will address key transport challenges facing the capital.

“We look forward to seeing the innovative solutions that come from this partnership, which will support the Mayor in building a better London for everyone.”

Christina Currle-Hamel, Director Digital Product Management & Digital Extras at Mercedes-Benz AG said: “The future of transportation safety in London thrives through the combination of technology and planning strategies. At Mercedes-Benz, we’re dedicated to support TfL in making this future a sustainable reality by leveraging our company’s expertise in digital solutions.”

Adrian Fieldhouse, Managing Director, Government and Transport at Sopra Steria, said: “TfL’s drive to make London a better place to live, work and visit aligns perfectly with our commitment to purpose-led innovation and creating services that make life better. We’re delighted to have been chosen to join this pioneering framework and look forward to using our collaborative approach and human-centred design principles – helping TfL to supercharge its research and development capability and exploit new and emerging technologies – to develop ground-breaking transport solutions for the capital.”

(Picture – TfL)

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