News

Providing mobility to Venturefest

IMG_0367VFFuture Space, the new innovation centre at UWE hosted Venturefest Bristol and Bath earlier this month. The theme for the event was Smart City Technology: Challenges and Opportunities and Esoterix were pleased to support the event with transport to and from Parkway Station and the UWE bus hub.

We could tell you how well it went, but we’ll let Jen Jackson, from event organisers Invest in Bristol and Bath, tell you instead:

“Esoterix were key to making our Venturefest launch event such a success. Transport and parking are common concerns for events, particularly in North Bristol.

We wanted to hold the event at Future Space, UWE as it’s a great venue for a large event with its modern hub area, and whilst they offered us a good number of parking spaces, this was still only available for half the number of delegates.

Esoterix were able to offer a solution, by providing their dynamic bus service which we offered to delegates from Bristol Parkway to UWE. The service proved really popular and was a great sustainable alternative to bringing the car.

It also fitted with the theme of our event – Smart Cities; Esoterix are a great example of using smart technology to improve the city for Bristol residents.”

If you’re organising an event and would like to explore how this service could support sustainable travel for your delegates, please get in touch
 

Virtual simulation will vigorously test new mobility services before putting vehicles on the road

### FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ###

As part of the Mobility on Demand Laboratory Environment (MODLE) project, Transport Systems Catapult, University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and Esoterix Systems are developing a micro-simulation platform. The MODLE Simulation Platform gives new, dynamic insight into where people are moving to, from, how and why at a much finer granularity than previous transport modelling systems.

Traffic congestion and related air pollution cause 10,000s of premature deaths and cost billions of pounds every year in the UK alone. However, car use will only go down if alternative options are good enough. The MODLE Simulation Platform uses technology to find and test new services taking some of the risk out of new service implementation.

“The agent based approach is what makes this project exciting” says Kristoff van Leeuwen of the Transport Systems Catapult. “This simulation can drill down to an agent’s movements whereas most similar modelling is at the macro-level”.

The simulation is populated with ‘agents’ which can be thought of as personae generated from various data sources (mobile network, Census and employee postcode data) rather than actual people. The data is anonymised to protect privacy but gives an accurate overall picture of movement around the city.

“The MODLE Simulation Platform is more than a moving picture,” says David Stewart, Esoterix CEO, “it’s a virtual test bed. The agents respond to new options. So the platform first finds pockets of demand that can be met by sustainable transport services and then tests proposed services against other ways of making the same journey. Would new services be sufficiently quick, convenient and cheap to challenge car use?”

The agents are informed by a human behaviour model calibrated by the Centre for Transport and Society (UWE Bristol) .  “We know people choose different transport options for a range of reasons. We look forward to better understanding how people weight those choices and using that behaviour to calibrate the MODLE Simulation Platform,” says Professor John Parkin of UWE Bristol, “Being able to virtually test proposed routes against consumer preferences will help operators develop and offer sustainable services people want.”

A short video about the MODLE Simulation Platform is available here [https://youtu.be/Cllu7mhQ7h0]

The simulation is being developed as part of the MODLE project in Bristol but the platform is transferrable to other cities. To find out more, please contact liz.davidson[at]esoterix.co.uk

###ENDS ###

Notes to Editors

MODLE – Mobility on Demand Laboratory Environment

MODLE is a project led by Esoterix Systems with partners Bristol City Council, First Bus, Transport Systems Catapult, and University of the West of England. It is supported by Innovate UK.

Esoterix Systems

Esoterix Systems is a Bristol based technology start-up working in intelligent mobility. The Mobility on Demand Laboratory Environment builds on previous Innovate UK funded projects including proof on concept and feasibility studies.

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board – the UK’s innovation agency. Taking a new idea to market is a challenge. Innovate UK funds, supports and connects innovative businesses through a unique mix of people and programmes to accelerate sustainable economic growth. For further information, visit www.innovateuk.org

Bristol City Council
https://www.bristol.gov.uk/

First Bus
https://www.firstgroup.com/bristol-bath-and-west

University of West of England – Centre for Transport and Society
http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/et/research/cts

The Centre for Transport & Society (CTS) specialises in research and knowledge exchange on travel behaviour, transport policy analysis and technological change in the transport sector. CTS’s contribution to the MODLE project draws upon several of our activity themes:

  • How society and the motor vehicle coevolve
  • Travellers’ experiences of the travel environment
  • Understanding the barriers to more inclusive, lower-carbon, active travel
  • Supporting and evaluating sustainable mobility strategies
  • ‘Smart Mobility’: how information-communication technologies interact with transport systems.

During the project CTS will assist with: understanding the demand for MODLE in different market niches; evaluating the services offered in terms of their transport sector impacts and the experiences of users; sharing the experiences of the trials and enabling adoption in other relevant locations beyond Bristol.

Transport Systems Catapult

The Transport Systems Catapult is the UK’s technology and innovation centre for Intelligent Mobility, harnessing emerging technologies to improve the movement of people and goods around the world. We are here to support business growth, increase the UK’s share of the global Intelligent Mobility market, and attract investment – creating jobs and generating long-term economic growth.

We will help sell UK capability on the global stage, while also promoting the UK as a superb test bed for the transportation industry. With a clear emphasis on collaboration, we are bringing together diverse organisations across different modes of transport, breaking down barriers and providing a unique platform for meeting the world’s most pressing transport challenges.

The Transport Systems Catapult is one of an elite network of not-for-profit technology and innovation centres established and overseen by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. All Catapults obtain their funds from a combination of core Innovate UK support and competitively won business and public sector funding. In addition, the Transport Systems Catapult is receiving substantial funding from the UK’s Department for Transport.

For more information, please visit www.ts.catapult.org.uk

 

Benchmarking Total Transport Solutions

Point the way to success. businessman concept
Making it easier for local authorities to identify the best total transport solution for their needs

ESOTERIX has secured funding from the Department of Transport to ‘Benchmark Total Transport’! 

Total transport, the idea of taking an integrated approach to the provision of multiple transport services by a local authority, has become a bit of a buzz phrase in recent years. The idea is to identify new and better ways to deliver joined-up local transport, remove duplication and save public money.

The Department for Transport (DfT)’s Total Transport Pilot Fund is providing £7.6m of funding to 37 local authority schemes to do this.

Schemes typically look to integrate transport for schools, Special Educational Needs, adult social care and non-emergency patient care with public demand responsive transport services, but there is currently no objective assessment of how well the integrated demand is routed and scheduled for delivery.

This matters because the success of schemes in delivering cost savings and other benefits depend on the performance of the routing and scheduling component.

Customers like to use some form of benchmarking when procuring products or services. But Total Transport solutions are difficult to benchmark during a procurement cycle since the integration has not yet happened and there is no data to work with.

Esoterix has secured funding from the Department of Transport’s T-TRIG competition to create a benchmark suite which covers a wide range of total transport scenarios. Local authorities will be able to choose the scenarios most relevant to their requirement and benchmark the performance of suppliers’ solutions against them.

By using the Total Transport Benchmark suite local authorities will be able to compare supplier solutions against scenarios matching their policy priorities and geographies.

There’s an adage that ‘what’s measured improves’ – and we’re excited to move forward with this project to ensure publicly funded total transport schemes have measurable benefits from the outset.

Project to develop personalised and shared transport service gets underway

### FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ###

Bristol technology company, Esoterix Systems, has launched an Innovate UK funded project to develop a new transport service. Project partners include Bristol City Council, University of the West of England, Transport Systems Catapult, and First.

The Mobility on Demand Laboratory Environment (MODLE) will develop, test and refine a service that combines the convenience of point-to-point journeys with the environmental and cost benefits of shared use. Think of it as a taxi-bus, intelligently routed by real-time and predicted demand.

Key features of MODLE are that it will explore innovative business models to keep the cost of the service down and that it will integrate with existing public transport to make it easier to get from A to B sustainably.

“There is a lot of clever stuff behind the service to make it efficient but from the point of view of passengers it will simply collect them from near where they are and take them to where they want to go quickly, reliably and – crucially – at an everyday price” says founder David Stewart.

“There’s no benefit to passengers in duplicating existing public transport provision,” says David, “our aim is to provide connections to scheduled rail or bus services as well as transport for journeys which are not well served by traditional public transport.” To do this, the project draws on the knowledge and expertise of its partners First Bus, University of the West of England, Transport Systems Catapult, Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire County Council.

Professor Graham Parkhurst (UWE Bristol) emphasised the importance of the trial, noting that “Recent years have seen a rise in the development of ‘smarter’ mobility solutions which draw upon information-communication technologies to provide more personalised and flexible transport services. However, not all these new services are integrated in the existing transport market. MODLE’s innovative ‘business model’, applied in a way to support existing public transport services, holds the promise of not only providing a better service to travellers but also promoting more sustainable mobility”.

The project will start delivering commuter services in the notoriously traffic-troubled North Fringe of the city in early 2017, with expansion to other areas in Bristol later in the year.

If readers working in the North Fringe area are interested in being updated about the service they can email hello@esoterix.co.uk

### ENDS ###

 Notes to Editors

Esoterix Systems

Esoterix Systems is a Bristol based technology start-up working in intelligent mobility. The Mobility on Demand Laboratory Environment builds on previous Innovate UK funded projects including proof on concept and feasibility studies.

For more information see esoterix.co.uk

Or contact Liz Davidson 07977247362

Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board – the UK’s innovation agency. Taking a new idea to market is a challenge. Innovate UK funds, supports and connects innovative businesses through a unique mix of people and programmes to accelerate sustainable economic growth. For further information visit www.innovateuk.org

First Bus

https://www.firstgroup.com/bristol-bath-and-west

University of West of England – Centre for Transport and Society

http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/et/research/cts

The Centre for Transport & Society (CTS) specialises in research and knowledge exchange on travel behaviour, transport policy analysis and technological change in the transport sector. CTS’s contribution to the MODLE project draws upon several of our activity themes:

  • How society and the motor vehicle coevolve
  • Travellers’ experiences of the travel environment
  • Understanding the barriers to more inclusive, lower-carbon, active travel
  • Supporting and evaluating sustainable mobility strategies
  • ‘Smart Mobility’: how information-communication technologies interact with transport systems.

During the project CTS will assist with: understanding the demand for MODLE in different market niches; evaluating the services offered in terms of their transport sector impacts and the experiences of users; sharing the experiences of the trials and enabling adoption in other relevant locations beyond Bristol.

Transport Systems Catapult

About Transport Systems Catapult

The Transport Systems Catapult is the UK’s technology and innovation centre for Intelligent Mobility, harnessing emerging technologies to improve the movement of people and goods around the world. We are here to support business growth, increase the UK’s share of the global Intelligent Mobility market, and attract investment – creating jobs and generating long-term economic growth.

We will help sell UK capability on the global stage, while also promoting the UK as a superb test bed for the transportation industry. With a clear emphasis on collaboration, we are bringing together diverse organisations across different modes of transport, breaking down barriers and providing a unique platform for meeting the world’s most pressing transport challenges.

The Transport Systems Catapult is one of an elite network of not-for-profit technology and innovation centres established and overseen by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. All Catapults obtain their funds from a combination of core Innovate UK support and competitively won business and public sector funding. In addition, the Transport Systems Catapult is receiving substantial funding from the UK’s Department for Transport.

For more information, please visit www.ts.catapult.org.uk

Bristol City Council

https://www.bristol.gov.uk/

 

 

Project to develop personalised and shared transport service gets underway

 

Keith Jackson joins Esoterix Systems

Keith Jackson profile pictureKeith Jackson has joined Esoterix Systems as Chief Technology Officer.

As a Bristol native, Keith is only too aware of the traffic congestion issues that blight the city and was quick to recognise the national and global potential of the platform Esoterix is developing.

Of joining Esoterix, Keith says “I’m really excited to have the opportunity to change the face of society for the better through technology.”

Indeed, the application of technology to real-world problems is one of Keith’s key strengths. His watchword is pragmatic, and he combines extensive experience in delivering complex IT solutions with a keen eye on business objectives.

We’re delighted to have him on-board.

We’re hiring

we are hiring canstockphoto22312865We’re looking for skilled, talented and ambitious people to join our small team at the start of an exciting project.

There are several roles open, including a Chief Technology Officer and Senior Software Engineers.

Salaries are competitive and include share options in a sector that grew 268% last year.

If you think you’ve got what it takes and you’re looking for a new challenge and to deliver a product that could improve people’s quality of life and deliver environmental benefits, we want to hear from you.

Full job descriptions are here

Welcome to Bristol

bristolBristol is a great place to live. It is regularly voted as the most liveable city in the UK (2015 and 2014). That’s not to say it isn’t without its problems but these are being tackled with the vibrancy and creativity that the city is becoming known for.

A consortium of authorities and organisations from Bristol, San Sebastián and Florence, has recently won an European Union bid for ‎€26 million to create integrated smart city solutions to tackle familiar urban problems such as traffic congestion, poor air quality and unsustainable energy use.

The project is called REPLICATE (REnaissance of PLaces with Innovative Citizenship And TEchnologies) and aims to look at how to further develop technology in order to create efficient, integrated and interactive urban environments that empower citizens.

Kevin O’Malley, City Innovation Team Manager for Bristol said:

Winning the REPLICATE bid further shows how Bristol is leading the way in researching what the cities of the future could look like and we are delighted to be collaborating with our local partners and with colleagues in San Sebastián and Florence. It is great to now finally be able to implement the smart technology our bid covered in order to create cities a that are better equipped and more resilient to the future.

REPLICATE scored top of all the consortia for its innovative proposal to integrate energy, transport and ICT at scale in the City. Transport is where Esoterix Systems fit in and we’re delighted to be part of the team that is working to make Bristol an even better place to live.

Back to school

school busBack to school next week and the joys of the school run. Getting kids to school can be hard work at the best of times. We’re fortunate enough to live close to our school but often children and young adults with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) have to travel further afield.

Under UK law, city authorities are obliged to support this group by providing free transport to and from educational establishments (be that school or college) if they live further than 2 or 3 miles (it varies).

Currently SEND transport provision results in much logistical fun and games where transport is booked, parents or carers notified, and contingency situations responded to on a day-to-day basis.

The service is expensive, it’s common for taxis to transport a single student at a time, and provides little or no visibility to parents and carers. If a vehicle is late they often ring the establishment for an update on the vehicle location, information the establishment doesn’t have without in turn contacting the driver.

In June this year the European Union awarded us a Frontier Cities grant to address the problems of the high cost of provision and low visibility of the service by developing SEND-TO, a FI-WARE application for efficient and effective SEND transport provision.

SEND-TO collates requests and calculates the minimum number of vehicles required to fulfil the SEND commitment on any given day. It automates the majority of the administrative overhead; and enables parents or carers to track vehicles, give the driver specific instructions (in real-time if necessary), and setup automatic alerts e.g. when a vehicle is approaching.

Unlicensed taxis are only the start

Barcelona is currently ground zero for a row about Uber. It’s fascinating to watch the disruptive influence of these companies (let’s not forget that Uber is owned by Google who, as kingpins of the internet, know a thing or two about disruption).

But greater disruption than unlicensed taxis are on the horizon. Drivers are the most expensive cost of many transport operations. Driverless cars (also developed by Google) herald the prospect of no taxi drivers at all.

Better brace ourselves, transport operations are facing a bumpy ride.

Revolution?

revolutionLast year, The Economist ran a feature on how our relationship with cars has shifted, particularly since the arrival of smartphones.

Last month, Christian Wolmar, premier transport journalist, said on his blog, “I suspect there is a revolution coming in transport just as disruptive as the internet has been to everything from newspaper publishing to Blockbusters, and we should at least understand the nature of innovation or, at best, embrace it.”

Technology is burgeoning with possibilities. Climate change is looming. And people are sick of sitting in traffic jams. The drums of change in transport are rumbling.

What better place for a transport revolution than Bristol? Currently, Bristol has some of the worst traffic in the country. There are various proposed infrastructure projects to improve traffic along main corridors into and around the city. Buxi, however, aims to complement those by improving the public transport offering for the first and last mile of a passenger’s journey, and to cater to those journeys that don’t lie on a transport corridor.

Buxi C.I.C. is now in discussion with major employers in the North Fringe area of Bristol and the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to provide the service to people travelling to and from work, to help alleviate traffic and parking problems in the area. We’ll keep you posted on developments. In the meantime, keep your ears and eyes open, change is on the way. (And you might just love it.)