Smaller cities are stretching their resources by joining efforts with their neighbors on smart cities initiatives. With this new approach, these cities can still benefit from the agility of working as small teams while executing projects at a scale usually seen by larger metropolises.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in the United Kingdom is one of these new combined legal entities, and we’re excited to announce the WMCA as our next Mapbox Cities featured partner. I’m looking forward to learning about the opportunities and challenges facing the Combined Authority, which includes Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and Coventry, along with the surrounding metropolitan boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, and Walsall.
Supporting the UK’s largest transport infrastructure project
Mapbox Cities and West Midlands will work together to help prepare the region for High Speed 2 (HS2), the UK’s largest transport infrastructure project. The highly anticipated HS2 project will be a catalyst for the region’s economic growth and is expected to be completed by 2026. The WMCA is preparing for the project’s construction challenges by combining historic traffic and transport data with geospatial data on planned disruptions and even real-time transport data.
HS2 is not the only project in the works to kick-start a new era of transport in the West Midlands. With the recent launch of the proof-of-concept platform ‘Whim’ the WMCA became the first region in the UK to pilot Mobility as a Service (MaaS) for its residents. The West Midlands Strategic Transport Plan, Movement for Growth, even outlines the commitment to “creating a transport system befitting a sustainable, attractive, and economically vibrant conurbation”. As a company built on open standards, we know the benefits of open data first hand. I was thrilled to read that “Open Data principles will be universally adopted to ensure the market can react, adapt, and develop those tools through new business models.” Private companies are getting involved, too. Jaguar Land Rover plans to start testing connected and autonomous vehicles around its headquarters in Coventry.
“It is a real achievement for us to have been selected against global competition for this prestigious pilot partnership, and our team is very excited to be working with an organisation of Mapbox’s stature,” said Martin Reeves, WMCA chief executive. “The combined authority was created in the spirit of innovation and we are delighted by this fresh approach to addressing the challenge and opportunity for our region that is High Speed 2.”