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

Registration is closed
Funding details
Registration opens
16 Mar 2020, 00:00
Registration closes
15 May 2020, 12:00
15 May 2020, 12:00
Up to £500,000 for projects under 12 months; up to £1m for projects lasting 13-18 months. This can cover up to 50% of project costs.
West Midlands 5G (WM5G) in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA)

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). 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 18 months in duration.

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

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, or if it requires data.

You must also ask TfWM to provide a letter of support for your project. You can contact them through their website or by calling 0121 200 2787.

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.

If your project is up to 12 months long you can claim up to £500,000 grant funding.
If your project is between 13 and 18 months long you can claim up to £1 million grant funding.

The grant you claim as a consortium must be no more than 50% of the total eligible project costs. There is no maximum on total eligible project costs. If you request funding of more than 50% of the total eligible project costs or the grant requested exceeds the maximum allowed your application will be ineligible.

Projects must start by 1 August 2020 and end by 31 March 2022.

If your project’s duration falls outside of eligibility criteria, you must request an exemption and provide justification by email to at least 10 days before the competition closes. Innovate UK will decide whether to approve your request.

We are expecting to fund a portfolio of projects (see the ‘Scope’ section).

We are expecting to fund up to 5 projects, and at least one of them must focus on traveller experience.

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 proposal 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
  • how 5G 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, including CO2, PM and NOx.
  • Train, tram or bus services to enhance business operational efficiency of the service offered.
  • Better joined up public transport services (bus, train or tram) to provide more cohesive travel solutions and transport information across the modes of transport, improving the experience for travellers.

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.

Your project must focus on one or more of the following use cases.


  • traffic control intervention to minimise congestion (and emissions) using advanced traffic light control, roadside warnings, or live and adapted route planning
  • roadside parking and flexible kerbside to make parking easier and enable deliveries, to minimise congestion (and emissions) and improve delivery scheduling
  • vehicle to infrastructure (V2I), including service monitoring or road condition and hazard safety messaging including sharing of car data

Rail and tram:

  • big data, including systems data monitoring and passenger counting
    station management and providing interactive customer information
  • new transport services such as very light rail (VLR)

Traveller experience:

  • an urban culture tour for tourists in towns and cities enabled by easy access to one or more modes of transport, such as connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV), taxi, tram or bus using an established or scalable service platform
  • a travel experience enhancement that supports improvements in personal productivity, social interaction or wellbeing (intellectual learning, physical or mental comfort)
  • enhanced passenger or employee security and personal protection or hazard avoidance across any mode of transport



A webcast briefing took place on 10th March 2020: you can view the recording here.

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