Zipabout in free platform offer to UK local authorities

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Oxford-based technology start-up Zipabout is to give its revolutionary smart city platform to every local authority in the UK – free of charge.

With local authority budgets already stretched by funding cuts, Zipabout is offering the cutting-edge technology for free to enable the UK’s public sector to fully embrace smart city innovation. The ‘Zipabout Transport Graph’, a big data and communications platform, can incorporate bespoke transport schemes, including sustainable initiatives such as dock-less bikes, lift shares and park and ride, into any existing public transport network. Using unique demand-mapping technology alongside cutting-edge data methodology pioneered by internet giants such as Facebook, supply is matched to passenger demand in real time.

The groundbreaking technology even supports trials of autonomous vehicles (AVs) or community transport schemes, bringing together all local and national Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) programs on one common platform, with no capital investment required. Local authorities will also be able to align live passenger and transport information to sustainable targets, such as air quality and traffic congestion. By aggregating data from multiple sources, the platform can predict pollution issues or transport disruption, and can provide motorists, cyclists or pedestrians with personalized routing alternatives in real time.

The platform has been developed using sophisticated technologies originally developed for the online advertising sector, and uses the global scale of the Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure to scale to the demands of any city or region. It is also the only platform globally to deliver personalized communications via any channel, allowing local authorities to more effectively engage with their transport users in real time through social media and other direct messaging channels.

“By making this unique and powerful platform available to local authorities free of charge, we are helping to ensure that they can provide sustainable transport and other smart city initiatives that can compete on a technical level with the likes of Uber, Citymapper and other global technology giants,” explained Daniel Chick, Zipabout’s technical director. “We are helping to ensure that these services are delivered in an integrated fashion, and for the benefit of their constituents, not a tech giant’s shareholders.”

Zipabout has already collaborated with Oxfordshire County Council to launch the first successful trial of the platform across the county. Llewelyn Morgan, service manager for infrastructure, innovation and development at the council, commented, “We have been working with Zipabout to develop new ways to inform customers about travel options and planning in Oxfordshire, and it is clear they have created a platform which truly looks to future behavior and market demands.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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