This month, the UK Government announced it would support 53 start-ups to develop pioneering greener and safer transport with a £1.95 million Transport Research and Innovation Grant – its 11th round of funding.

Past winning innovations have included a purifying system to lower virus transmission on trains, a portable charger for use at remote locations and a battery cooling system.

As we look ahead to a greener transport future, solving the complex task of decarbonising the UK transport system is vital. What solutions are being pioneered to enable the transport sector to achieve net zero and become more resilient to disruption?

Local and national support 

Given transport is the largest source of UK greenhouse gas emissions (23 per cent), government-backed projects to develop solutions ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) are a high priority in England and across the nations.

In March this year, the Welsh Government published its Llwybr Newydd Transport Strategy which outlined its priorities to reshape transport as well as a new transport policy that promised to spend £75 million on active travel.

To encourage people to choose public transport, as well as making public transport and rail safer and more sustainable, Lab by Transport for Wales supported a 10-week accelerator programme for the best of innovation and tech talent.

Initiatives include zero carbon station design, supporting electric vehicle (EV) charging for cars and buses as well as battery testing, and reducing energy usage at stations.

State-of-the art solutions 

Small and medium-sized enterprises and universities have been drivers of innovative ideas or concepts, on a more localised scale.

In July, a collective of pioneers in climate change solutions came together to help make Bristol’s transport cleaner and greener, spearheaded by digital hub Action Net Zero CIC and local authorities.

Bristol’s collective includes a company focused on the decarbonisation of corporate organisations through the electrification of fleets, as well as one that enables businesses and residents to share EV chargers.

Several Bristol-based renewable and zero-carbon start-ups have made a name for themselves in the sustainable transport sphere. FiveAI uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help accelerate the development of safe autonomous vehicles and public transport, for instance.

Partnership opportunities create jobs

The Government said investments it has received from UK and international backers to support its Green Industrial Revolution would create some 56,000 high quality green jobs across the UK over the next 10 years.

To achieve the delivery of innovative transport projects, the government is giving prominence to partnerships.

In its 2021 research, the Local Government Association highlighted the need for partnership working for the delivery of zero emission bus solutions including switching to clean bus fleets, bus depot upgrades and a nationwide rollout of EV chargers and other hydrogen fuelling solutions.

As leaders meet up in Glasgow for the COP26, companies need to ensure they have the right tools and talent to play an integral role in this tech transport transformation. Speak to one of our experts today to discuss how we can help you achieve this.