ADEPT Live Labs successes for Staffordshire County Council

04 July 2022
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Over the past two years, Staffordshire County Council (SCC) and Amey have been working together with SMEs to bring new and innovative mobility solutions to the streets of Staffordshire, through the Department for Transport funded £22.9m ADEPT Live Labs programme.

Working with SCC, the Connected Places Catapult and Keele University, Amey used funding from the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) SMART Places Live Labs programme to create SIMULATE (Smart Infrastructure & Mobility Urban Laboratory and Test Environment) with the aim of connecting ground-breaking advancements in technology from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with real world challenges faced by the local authority.

The two main areas of focus for the team were finding solutions that tackled challenges with mobility and air quality. Following a series of workshops and a launch event, over 130 applications were received by SMEs with innovative solutions to address both the air quality and mobility issues in the county. From the 130 applications that were received, 10 winners were selected, and an incubation period began where SMEs got the opportunity to showcase the solutions.

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport David Williams said: “As a county council we’re determined to fulfil our climate change commitments and deliver innovative transport solutions for our communities. It has been fantastic then to have been one of just nine local authority partnerships involved in the SIMULATE programme.

“It has been rewarding to tap into the expert knowledge of the SMEs we have worked with on initiatives to improve air quality and local knowledge of sustainable and more energy efficient transport. Just over the short period of time of this trial, carbon reduction and energy efficiency have become ever prominent in people’s minds. We look forward to sharing the findings to support decision makers, communities and help develop greener economies.”

The SIMULATE programme saw trials with electric scooters, EV charging points as well as living walls and the installation of clean air sensors all providing data that can be used when making infrastructure and planning decisions.

Sunita Dulia, Head of Business Improvement at Amey, said: “The SIMULATE programme has provided SMEs the platform to showcase and trial their solutions to tackle real world challenges on a live network.

“It’s been an enthralling journey working with the 10 SMEs sharing best practice, challenges and learnings with the SIMULATE programme that can be taken forward onto other projects. I hope that the success of these trials enables SCC to move forwards in achieving their green ambitions.”

Giles Perkins, Live Labs Programme Director said: “The confluence of mobility, climate change and air quality will continue to be a challenge right across the UK. The innovations and learnings from the Staffordshire Live Lab help drive the agenda forward as we move to a cleaner, decarbonised less impactful mobility system. Encouraging SME innovation has been at the centre of the Staffordshire approach providing a great blueprint for how we accelerate growth for those with the drive and ideas to deliver real change”

The ADEPT SMART Places Live Labs programme was a two-year £22.9 million project funded by the Department for Transport and supported by project partners SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, 02, Ringway and WSP.

Nine local authorities worked on projects to introduce digital innovation across SMART mobility, transport, highways, maintenance, data, energy and communications. Live Labs is part of ADEPT’s SMART Places programme to support the use of digital technology in place-based services.


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