Sunderland could become the first city of driverless cars

Promoted by Nexus

Nexus has put the call out for new future tech to revolutionise public transport in North East England

Tyne and Wear is to become a test bed for new innovative transport schemes which could include driverless vehicles, integrated apps and on-demand cycle and car hire as it bids to extend the reach of public and sustainable transport in North East England.

Nexus, the organisation which provides and promotes public transport on behalf of local authorities in Tyne and Wear, is calling for innovative proposals from private firms and experts developing future technologies that could deliver benefits to local transport users.

Applicants will be invited to pitch their ideas in a Dragon’s Den style presentation. Head of Bus Services at Nexus, Mike Scott, said: “Our intention is to be a test bed for partnerships and projects that deliver new mobility services, complementing and adding value to existing public transport networks.

“We believe that Tyne and Wear is big enough to provide a meaningful and scalable test bed, but not so big that the effects of investment in transport innovation are hard to identify and isolate.”

Nexus is keen to reduce people’s reliance on their car and is already looking to develop a Metro journey ‘intelligent’ planning and payment app to make it easier for people to use local transport. This would build on its track record for innovative solutions to improve services for the public.

It led the way in implementing multi-modal smart ticketing outside London through the Pop card and is currently working with industry partners on the next generation of smart technology. The region’s Metro system - which receives funds from central government - consists of 60 stations and 90 Metrocars covering more than 48 miles on two lines.

Tyne and Wear already has one of the highest uptakes of bus ridership in the country, and Nexus wants to extend the reach of public transport and optimise spare capacity while contributing to local environmental priorities, and meeting the social and economic needs of local communities.

In late 2017, a transport innovation workshop brought together public sector, academic and industry experts to raise awareness of new mobility services. It kick-started a conversation about what new developments could do for the region. This workshop concluded that Tyne and Wear should give active consideration to projects and services that could add value to transport, with the region leading from the front to introduce innovation in transport.

Mike Scott said: “Providers we have spoken with so far recognise that through a collaborative approach to delivery with a local transport authority, the benefits of innovation can be maximised and the risks minimised.”

At the heart of Nexus’ vision for fully integrated public transport is reducing the impact of local transport on the environment. Low/zero emission buses, for example, would reduce the carbon footprint of the region.

New Mobility Services propositions should be submitted to Nexus by Tuesday 31 July 2018. For more information go