Engaging with the Transport iNet
Transport iNet was established in early 2009 to help businesses working in the transport equipment sector to flourish and drive the East Midlands economy forward. The Transport iNet allows individual sectors to work together, share ideas, technologies, intelligence, innovation and create a link between operational industries and the academic community. The Transport iNet programme is managed by Loughborough University and funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Transport iNet brings together businesses, sector organisations and universities across several industries including aerospace, automotive, marine, motorsport and rail.
The collaboration of these sector specialists enables the programme to help to increase the level of innovation in the East Midlands, improve business competitiveness, margins, sustainability and growth.
Dynamic travel planning tools for live journeys
One such collaborative project involves De Montfort University in Leicester and sustainable transport specialist, Go Travel Solutions.
Although advanced journey planning tools are freely available and are generally sophisticated and flexible, when there is disruption to a particular travel network, there is often a lack of real-time, dynamic intelligence available to the commuter.
Identifying this challenge, De Montfort University and Go Travel Solutions are working together to help develop more dynamic travel planning tools for live journeys.
Innovative use of EC for automation of train scheduling
De Montfort University is a partner in a £1 million EPSRC funded programme (ECDONE) to apply Evolutionary Computation (EC) to train scheduling. EC is a branch for Computational Intelligence that seeks to apply continuous optimisation to complex and challenging problems.
De Montfort University is focused on using EC for modeling of possible applications to resolve train scheduling issues.
Go Travel Solutions is a Leicester-based small medium enterprise (SME) specialising in assisting businesses to develop people based sustainable travel solutions. The company has an excellent knowledge of business travel needs, and is investing in a range of products to promote its services and to deliver travel plans specifically to business clusters under the Smartgo brand.
Go Travel Solutions, through its existing business travel networks across Leicester and Leicestershire, will provide suitable communities with which De Montfort University can test its resulting applications.
This ERDF part-funded project will be extended to consider multi-modal travel and to include passenger journey planning using the resultant rail timetable. This will help to optimise the passenger journey, taking account of personal constraints, including time, cost and route preferences.
Working in collaboration
Robin Pointon, Managing Director of Go Travel Solutions says: “Our experience of establishing proven business travel networks, covering many different types of local businesses, means that we have a strong platform of possible testing sites for resulting applications and can gather intelligence that may be key in the development of these solutions. By collaborating with the innovative research & development skills at De Montfort University, we aim to support the development of tools that will make journey planning cheaper, easier and more sustainable.”
John Frodsham, Director of Transport iNet said: “Linking small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across sectors, with universities and research centres plays a key role in building on the innovative capabilities of ambitious local businesses, and deploying established expertise within East Midlands to support strategic national priorities. We are pleased to bring together collaborators, particularly on an SME-friendly scale, to develop technologies and services for people that simplify the process of making their journeys.”
Eric Goodyer, Professor of Instrumentation at De Montfort University and PI for the project said "We are delighted that the Transport iNET chose to support this collaboration between De Montfort University and Go Travel Solutions. This type of partnership helps to ensure that research is focused on current needs, and that the outputs of that research will be commercially exploited."