Towards Intelligent Mobility in Leicester and beyond

Alex Burrows, Transport Systems Catapult’s Head of Innovation Challenges, will be kicking off – as first speaker – at a launch event this Thursday showcasing Smart Transport Innovation in Leicester and wider Leicestershire.

Leicester City Council and the Smart and Integrated Ticketing Project – with support from the University of Leicester – have organised ‘A Smarter Leicestershire: A City of the Future’ to bring together businesses, academics and citizens with expertise – as well as presenting their work so far in developing the local smart card branded the One Card.

As a result of government funding, smart technology is already in place for concessionary users in Leicester. However, the local authorities are keen to see smart and integrated ticketing solutions in place over the next five years, in order to offer easier access for all transport users – as well as better value tickets and services.

Smart and Integrated ticketing developments in Leicester

The council said it is keen for a full “integrated multi-operator ticket” as this will offer “a significant improvement for the many people who regularly use more than one bus company”.

For the council, streamlining the numerous card-based systems will save money over time, for example by reducing fraud.

The OneCard will use an ITSO operating system, widely adopted nationally for smart ticketing.

This will allow payment for travel throughout Leicester and Leicestershire using different bus operators.

Down the line, the OneCard will offer access to other services such as for libraries, leisure centres and school transport.

In due course, the card will also enable travel by bus in any area of England that runs a compatible smart card system.

The OneCard already in use by thousands of elderly and disabled Leicestershire bus passengers and cyclists

Following funding of £2.2 million from the Department of Transport in 2010, the One Card is already available for use by concessionary users in the county on Arriva, First, Centrebus and Kinch fleets.

This allows elderly and disabled bus passengers to use a ‘touch and go’ device when they board buses in Leicester.

The first commercial ticket will go live using the card over the new few months and the city is working toward having the card capable of being used by multiple operators as a ’flexi’ ticket.

An announcement of the launch of a 28 day pass using the OneCard on Arriva services, to go live later in the year, is expected soon.

However, the local authorities admit there’s a number of technical challenges to be overcome before the card will be available to all bus users, so have organised the event to encourage collaboration and receive feedback on its strategy for Smart and Integrated Ticketing.

The project partners also will present a framework for moving forward to meet future demands.

Towards Intelligent Mobility

Transport Systems Catapult’s Alex Burrows comes from a background that includes working at Centro, West Midlands Transport Authority that introduced its Swift Smartcard in October 2012 for passengers paying for travel on bus in the West Midlands.

SWIFT is in the first phase of development with Centro working with other local operators to widen adoption as well as initiatives for new types of smart products and retailing.

During 2014 SWIFT is planned for full roll-out across the bus network in the West Midlands, and in subsequent years on Midland Metro and the rail network, as a one card solution to travel which is a flexible, simple and an easy to pay for.

Less than a month after starting his new role as Head of Innovation Challenges, Alex will be the first speaker at the event themed around challenges in Local Transport integration, Authority Services, Retail, Leisure and tourism and European travel

To an audience made up of transport users, suppliers, bus operators and authorities, Alex will be presenting an outline of developments in Transport Systems Catapult projects and describe the Innovation Challenges we have identified for helping move communities such as Leicester “Towards Intelligent Mobility”.

It takes a brave speaker to be first up at an event titled ‘A Smarter Leicestershire’; as his role involves articulating the innovation challenges that will need to be overcome in order for intelligent mobility to be achieved – Alex is our man.

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