How might Transport for Wales Rail(TfWR) provide door to door journey information and the facilities to make it happen? What can TfWR do to provide a consistent experience across all of its trains? How might TfWR better understand what makes customers feel more secure?

These are just some of the problems that cohort 1 of Lab by Transport for Wales (TfWL) will be tackling when our first programme launches in January 2020.

The lab will uncover the new customer-focused innovations, to deliver outstanding passenger experience across all TfWR lines.

But who is taking part, and how did we decide?

The Shortlisting Process

Almost 70 companies applied to take part in our innovation accelerator. Applications covered;

  • Company background
  • Information on their product/service/idea
  • How it is being used currently and in what markets (if applicable)
  • How the idea can be pivoted or used across rail
  • Commercials & growth rate

From this original 70, 16 of the best were invited to pitch day.

Candidates pitched their ideas via a 5 minute presentation to the judging panel. Pitches covered what their idea, product or service was, and how it would help TfWR.

The judging panel was comprised of decision makers from TfWR, network operator KeolisAmey, along with the innovation delivery team from Alt Labs.

The Cohort

The strongest applicants were then selected to take part in the 12-week accelerator. The programme begins in January and is hosted at TfW’s dedicated innovation lab in Newport. They are:

  • Cleverciti – Manufacturers of overhead smart parking sensors. Its solution unites all aspects of smart parking management technology – including overhead sensors, mobile apps and analytics – into one integrated system.
  • Big Lemon – An end-to-end consumer platform that simplifies passenger journeys and informs them about their full rail experience.
  • Qi Managed Services – A smart public seating bench solution that improves station and depot environments for passengers and staff. The new seating will provide device and smartphone charging, WiFi, and LDC displays with journey information.
  • UtterBerry – A sensor system that collects real-time information about train operations, including passenger numbers, necessary repairs and the causes of damage. It can also detect structural changes including displacement and tilt, as well as environmental factors such as temperature and humidity.
    Brite Yellow Limited – An indoor mapping, wayfinding and asset management solution to help transport operators create intelligent space. They use augmented and virtual reality, to improve user experience and unlock new revenue.
  • Realtime Knowledge – A digital platform, comprised of workflow management and data capture tools. It focuses on operational safety and security checks and inspections, as well as customer feedback.
  • Hiperview – This platform provides instant customer feedback analysis collated through digital surveys. Operators can map journeys and identify where and why issues have occurred.
  • PassageWay – Transforms connected totems, kiosks and screens into real-time transport and digital wayfinding signs. PassageWay signs display local multi-modal mobility information with real-time updates. This enables operators to push information to both existing and new customers.

The Programme

Michael Davies, insight and innovation manager at TfW, said: “We’ve been so impressed with the high calibre of ideas that have been pitched to us over this stage of the programme. This has made our job of selecting the best startups for cohort 1 extremely tough. The Lab offers a chance to celebrate this local talent. Importantly, it also presents the opportunity to develop and fast track any new ideas that can make a meaningful difference to passenger experience across our network.”

“The 12-week accelerator programme will commence in January. By April we will be able to demonstrate a number of minimal viable products. These can then be tested with staff and customers.”

The Outcome

Successful startups will be awarded a contract of work to continue development of their solution and implement it across Transport for Wales Rail.

A prize fund of £25,000 is also being provided by KeolisAmey, which will be distributed to the winning startup (or split between startups) who are deemed to have “won” the programme.

Follow Our Startups

We will be releasing company profiles on each startup throughout the duration of the programme. For the latest updates visit