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

Key Features

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).

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £2.5 million

Opens: 15th Sep 2020

Closes: 2nd Dec 2020

! This scheme is now closed


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.


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.

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.

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, or;
  • 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.


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.

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

Funding Costs

West Midlands 5G (WM5G) have allocated up to £2.5 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

As a consortium, total project grant funding must not exceed 50% of your total eligible project costs. This is regardless of the individual partners’ grants claims.

Of that 50%, individual partners can claim grant funding for your eligible costs of up to:

  • 60% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • 50% if you are a medium-sized organisation
  • 40% if you are a large organisation

For collaborations between businesses, no one business partner can be responsible for more than 70% of the total eligible project costs.

For collaborations between businesses and research organisations, the research organisation must bear at least 10% of the total eligible project costs and have the right to publish their own research.

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 20% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.


This competition is not funding:

  • media or broadcast projects
  • vehicle-to-vehicle safety critical use case trials