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Dundee: a test bed for scaling up mobility innovations

The Mobility Innovation Living Lab (The MILL) is an innovation partnership transforming Dundee into a real-world test bed for new transport technologies and services. Through a globally significant £2.5 million programme of innovation pilots, we are demonstrating how smart transport technologies, business models and data can improve wellbeing, says Anna Day, Partnerships Manager, Urban Foresight

Anna Day, Partnerships Manager, Urban Foresight
20 September 2019
Dundee is showing that new mobility innovations can be scaled up to cities round the UK and across the globe. 
Dundee panorama: Photo Hans Musil, CC
Dundee is showing that new mobility innovations can be scaled up to cities round the UK and across the globe. Dundee panorama: Photo Hans Musil, CC
Navigogo, Scotland`s first Mobility as a Service (MaaS) application, was piloted in a project led by ESP Group and introduced a personalised journey planner, fare calculator & payment system to Dundee in 2017
Navigogo, Scotland`s first Mobility as a Service (MaaS) application, was piloted in a project led by ESP Group and introduced a personalised journey planner, fare calculator & payment system to Dundee in 2017

 

The MILL was established by Dundee City Council with the Scottish Cities Alliance and is managed by Urban Foresight. The MILL is part funded as part of the Scottish Government European Structural Investment Fund programme 2014 – 2020 through the ‘Scotland’s 8th City, the Smart City project’. 

There are three main pillars at the centre of all our projects: people, the environment and scalability. People are the heart of what we do; our core aim is to make Dundee a better place to live and work by improving transport choices. The environmental thread runs through everything we do: air quality and combatting climate change are essential parts of each project. Our projects are not pilots: they’re innovations and smart uses of data. We want to use Dundee to show that these new mobility innovations can be scaled up to cities round the UK and across the globe. 

The first wave of projects to be run through The MILL  – car-sharing, fleets, smart parking and active travel –  will be combined into a single mobility as a service (MaaS) platform in the next phase 

Anna Day wiil be speaking at Smarter Tomorrow

The first wave of projects to be run through The MILL were commissioned in summer 2018 and will are delivering solutions related to car-sharing, fleets, smart parking and active travel. The next phase will be to combine these services into a single mobility as a service (MaaS) platform. Dundee City Council is currently in the process of bringing on a development partner to support this. The companies who are part of the first phase of MILL projects are all signed up to be part of this MaaS platform which will help residents and visitors to the city move around more easily. 

Urban Foresight manages all aspects of the programme. This includes providing expert support to large and small businesses, including help to access funding, infrastructure and end-users to co-create solutions. Urban Foresight also has a role to facilitate collaborations amongst suppliers, help to scale-up solutions to other Scottish cities and create opportunities to promote innovations to global markets.

Dundee is at the forefront of the Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution and that led Dundee City Council to want to support more innovations in the city. Dundee has the biggest EV taxi fleet in the UK (134 taxis and counting), was voted the most visionary EV city in Europe last year, and boasts three specially built EV charging hubs. These hubs have 78 chargers which are heavily used and are leading the thinking in the UK about how EV charging stations will exist across the UK in future.

Innovate UK are funding a project to help address the challenge about the 50 per cent of people who cannot charge their EV on a driveway at home, without cluttering the street. This includes a trial of innovative pop up chargers for residential charging of electric vehicles. These exciting pieces of infrastructure allows the street to remain clear for pedestrians during the day, while EVs can charge overnight. 

MILL projects include: 

Smart Parking Sensors: Over 1,000 bluetooth sensors will be installed as part of Scotland’s largest smart parking project. It will include both on-street residential and city centre parking, with the aim of reducing congestion, improving enforcement and allow people to pay based on the duration of their stay. The service will be provided by Atkins and AppyParking, with users able to see real-time availability of spaces, with navigation and single click payments for a parking session using a mobile app.

Car Club Drop Off Zones: Co-Wheels will trial software and hardware solutions that would facilitate the development of Scotland’s first free floating car club. In a pilot with Dundee City Council, geofenced pickup and drop-off zones will be introduced which mean that car club users no longer have to rigidly stick to returning vehicles to a designated bay. The development of one-way car clubs, as opposed to the existing round-trip rental model, could ultimately increase the convenience, flexibility and affordability of car clubs as a viable alternative to private car use.

Community Minibuses: Dundee City Council is working with Co-Wheels Car Club to optimise the use of its community minibuses. Some minibuses currently have a relatively low rate of utilisation and are expensive to operate. A new booking platform and in-vehicle telematics will allow community groups across the city to access the minibuses, delivering a new shared mobility service and reducing the cost to the public sector of operating these vehicles.

Fleet Sharing: We are working with Enterprise Car Club to develop a new model that will enable sharing of vehicles with other fleets. Existing pool car vehicles and regular day hire services will be replaced with a new low carbon car club fleet, saving the Council time, money and CO2 in managing these operations. A new booking system and in-vehicle telematics will make it easier for council staff to access the vehicles. This technology will also facilitate the sharing of vehicles with Police Scotland and other organisations across the city.

Community Minibuses: Dundee City Council is working with Co-Wheels Car Club to optimise the use of its community minibuses. Some minibuses currently have a relatively low rate of utilisation and are expensive to operate. A new booking platform and in-vehicle telematics will allow community groups across the city to access the minibuses, delivering a new shared mobility service and reducing the cost to the public sector of operating these vehicles.

Electric Bike Sharing: Scotland’s first large-scale electric bike sharing scheme will be launched in Dundee this summer. An initial 350 electric bikes will be deployed across the city, with more bikes planned as demand grows. The service will be delivered by Ride-On, which operates similar schemes in Madrid and Miami. Users of the scheme will benefit from Ride-On’s proprietary integrated software that connects its e-bikes with its website, smartphone app and recharging stations.

A smart, efficient parking solution comes to Dundee: Already launched in the city is a new app-based service from JustPark. The new cashless payment system which launched on April 1st, is cheaper and will gradually introduce innovations such as predictive availability of parking spaces and real time discovery of spaces. Five more trials will be developed over the next year, including a scheme which encourages drivers to park in different areas through incentives from local shops, pre-booking and dynamic and emission-based pricing.

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