Transport for London (TfL) has launched a new procurement approach to co-develop innovative mobility products with the private sector. The aim is to both improve how people move around the city and potentially generate fresh revenue.
TfL is now looking for three private sector partners that it can work with to co-create, scale and co-commercialise new solutions to some of the capital’s most challenging problems.
By bringing procurement and innovation together under a new Innovation Collaboration Framework, TfL hopes to tap into research and development investment funds to introduce pioneering solutions. Further, jointly commercialising successful products to overseas markets could bring in much-needed additional revenue that can be reinvested into the transport network.
Speaking to Cities Today at the recent City Leadership Forum in Madrid, TfL’s Head of Open Innovation Rikesh Shah said the idea was to introduce a model for cities to co-create with the private sector.
“Large corporates who want to invest their R&D budgets sometimes do [this] in isolation without talking to the cities,” he commented. What we’re saying is our doors are open – we’ll create a testbed, we’ll share our problems and also provide subject matter expertise. As well as looking at the R&D, we’re looking to scale the product if it works and potentially co-commercialise it in other cities.
“This is a call to the large corporates who want to invest some of their R&D budgets to co-develop solutions with us.”
Previous projects that inspired the ICF include a pilot with Bosch which led to reductions in pollution levels and is helping shape how the agency looks at future air quality improvements.
The pilot, which began in November 2018, included improving the analysis of traffic flows and their impact on air quality; using AI to improve road safety; and identifying and trialling new ways to address noise on the Tube, reports Cities Today.
Theo Chapple, Open Innovation Lead at TfL, said: “Technology is advancing at an ever-increasing rate and we are looking forward to collaborating in this way with three exciting innovators from across the world.
“Ultimately, these new ways of working will help people travel more easily, safely and sustainably and we’re excited to see how we can resolve some of London’s transport challenges, while also taking our ideas and thought leadership to the world.”
Applications can be accessed on TfL’s website and will be open until 10 November 2022.