5G enabled road and rail transport trials in the West Midlands, round 2

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million to support development of 5G enabled transport innovations. This funding is from West Midlands 5G (WM5G).

Opportunity Details


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Your project can claim up to £500,000 in grant funding. This can cover a maximum of 50% of project costs. There is no maximum on total project cost.


Innovate UK
West Midlands 5G

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West Midlands 5G (WM5G) will work in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) through Transport for West Midlands (TfWM).

Together they will invest up to £2.5 million in innovation projects that develop a new service or product. These must improve road and rail operational efficiency, provide better-connected transport or improve traveller experience. Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will manage the competition process.

This competition will support projects up to 12 months in duration.

Your project must trial using 5G in the West Midlands.

Projects will be awarded grant and monitored by WM5G.

You must consult with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) if the transport monitoring and control system:

  • needs to integrate with the physical road or rail networks
  • requires data

You must also ask TfWM to provide a letter of support for your project. Consultation days will be published specifically to review projects and gain understanding prior to letters of support being issued. Please apply for these appointments through the WM5G website.

You must consult with a mobile network operator (Vodafone, O2, BT or 3) to confirm 5G functionality is available for your project in the West Midlands.

You must include a public or private communications network provider or a communications integrator as a partner or a sub-contractor in your consortium.

Your project

Your project must:

  • only claim up to £500,000 in grant funding
  • be up to 12 months in length
  • start by 15 March 2021
  • end by 21 March 2022

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with at least one other UK registered business
  • if they wish, collaborate with UK registered research organisations, public sector organisations or charities
  • include a communications network provider (public or private) or communications integrator as a partner or sub-contractor
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

If your project needs to integrate with the physical road or rail networks or needs data from the transport monitoring and control system, you must:

  • consult Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) before submitting your application
  • include TfWM as a consortium partner or upload a letter of support from TfWM

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

When a business leads on an application it can collaborate in a further 2 applications.

An academic institution can collaborate on any number of applications.

The aim of this competition is to:

  • develop new services and products that improve road and rail operational efficiency,
  • provide better-connected transport or
  • improve traveller experience.

Your project must:

  • focus on one of the use cases listed in the specific themes
  • include 3 months of user or product testing in your chosen location in the West Midlands using the live 5G environment

Your project proposal must demonstrate either how 5G:

  • is essential to developing your new service or product, or
  • offers a significant enhancement compared to current mobile communications

You must aim to demonstrate improvements, including benefits derived from 5G bandwidth, latency, security or reliability in one or more of the following:

  • operation of roads to reduce congestion and improve safety
  • improvements in air quality (for example, CO2, PM and NOx)
  • train, tram, bus or freight services to improve business operational efficiency or offer an increase in revenue
  • better joined up transport for people or things (bus, train, tram, car, HGV) to provide more cohesive travel and transport solutions and transport information across the modes of transport, improving customer experience.

Your project must demonstrate business viability and focus on exploitation. It must concentrate on showing the benefits of the product or service in a measurable way.

You must align your project to the Midlands Future Mobility initiative, the West Midlands CAM Lab or the ConVEx UK connected mobility data exchange. Your application must describe how you will achieve this.

Specific themes

Your project must focus on products or services in one or more of the following use case areas:

  1. Movement of things – freight and logistics.
  2. Movement of people – public transport, economic recovery and traveller confidence post COVID-19.
  3. Road operation and management.

1. Movement of things – freight and logistics.

Choose one or more of the following:

  • transport, drop off or pick up of goods, pallets, packages or parcels to customers or between businesses which may include construction, manufacturing, residential or retail. This may include simplifying the interface, increasing resilience of operations, or creating transport and logistics related efficiencies that can be realised outside of the direct line-side or manufacturing process
  • journey improvements through better and more informed planning, hazard avoidance and dynamic in journey updates to improve delivery, operational effectiveness and improve congestion
  • securing a meaningful level of adoption of platform for delivery as a service using big data and cooperative models between freight and logistics operators and consumers of their services. Of particular interest are propositions which can benefit the SME freight and logistics operators

2. Movement of people – Public transport recovery and traveller confidence post COVID-19

Choose one or more of the following:

  • products or services which encourage the use of non-single occupancy car trips in higher polluting vehicles. This could include public transport (including bus, train or tram), eScooters, cycling or walking but may also include Mobility as a Service and sharing economy solutions. The products developed will also provide an enhanced transport experience or improved revenue opportunity for service operators.
  • products or services which provide operational improvements or cost savings for rail, tram or bus operators.
  • enhanced passenger or employee confidence and protection through detection of social distancing, crowding, health scanning or other key data to support healthy travel. This data will be available before or during journeys. The services may include guidance to travellers for options of services available, tailored to individuals’ needs.

3. Road operation and management

Develop a traffic control intervention to minimise congestion using:

  • advanced traffic light control
  • roadside warnings


  • live and adapted route planning with the live traffic data from sensors being rolled out across the West Midlands

Access to detailed local emissions measuring and weather information is available for integration with novel interventions.

KTN held online briefings for this event in September 2020. View the recordings at the links below.

Briefing, 9th September

Briefing, 15th September


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