Funding competition SBRI: using data to better understand and respond to road congestion

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £250,000, including VAT, to generate innovative ideas that use data to help ease road traffic congestion.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Competition sections


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition. Funding is provided by the GovTech Catalyst to support the challenge from Department for Transport (DfT) and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Recent research for DfT shows many local authorities lack access to reliable, real time information about vehicle traffic, cyclists and pedestrians. This competition will help local areas better understand and respond to traffic congestion by providing data that is less resource intensive and higher quality.

Congestion is a significant and worsening issue across the UK. Delays have become more common, and levels of congestion are particularly high in our largest urban areas. Time wasted in congestion:

  • causes significant inconvenience
  • stifles productivity
  • increases levels of harmful emissions

It is a complex issue caused by a range of systemic and local factors. Traditional attempts to both address congestion and assess the effectiveness of interventions are underpinned by data gathering, often carried out manually.

This is the first phase of a 2-phase competition. This first phase focuses on feasibility studies. Phase 2 will be for prototype development and testing.

Funding type


Project size

We expect phase 1 projects to range in size up to total costs of £50,000, including VAT, per organisation. We expect to fund 5 projects for up to 3 months. Projects should start 14 December 2018.

Find out if you are eligible to apply

To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation of any size
  • work alone or with others as subcontractors (businesses, research base or third sector)

Your application must have at least 50% of its contract value attributed directly and exclusively to research and development (R&D) services. R&D can cover solution exploration and design. It can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service.

R&D does not include:

  • commercial development activities such as quantity production
  • supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs
  • integration, customisation or incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • proposals which rely on the purchase of large amounts of data from a single existing provider
  • proposals which heavily duplicate existing solutions


The programme will be delivered in 2 phases. This is phase 1 of a potential 2-phase competition. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1. Only successful applicants from phase 1 will be invited to participate in phase 2.

Phase 1

Feasibility studies resulting in a technical and commercial specification and detailed design package for an intelligent digital solution.

The feasibility study R&D contracts are being awarded to demonstrate technical feasibility of the proposed solution. £250,000, including VAT, will be awarded. We expect to fund up to 5 projects for up to 3 months at up to £50,000 each, including VAT.

Phase 2

These will be R&D contracts for prototype development and testing, resulting in prototype installation to test functionality.

2 contracts will be awarded to organisations chosen from the successful phase 1 applicants. Up to £500,000, including VAT, will be allocated for each contract for up to 12 months.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to generate innovative solutions that help local areas better understand and respond to traffic congestion. Solutions should provide data that is less resource intensive and higher quality than in traditional approaches.

Your proposed solution must:

  • try to better understand and respond to traffic congestion in some way
  • be suitable for testing in a real world environment after phase 1 development in the UK
  • take affordability into consideration
  • be innovative

We are particularly encouraging applications that:

  • explore how data or analysis can support local areas in both real time traffic interventions and longer term strategic considerations
  • look at solutions which are scalable and could be applied within other local areas
  • anticipate possible constraints on budget and data skills within local areas
  • consider how existing data sets could be better used
  • consider the possible value additional data sets could bring and how they could be used and analysed in low cost ways
  • consider the types of innovative interventions that could be deployed using this improved data or analysis in order to reduce congestion
  • as well as local areas, consider how data or interventions could directly influence the behaviour of motorists across the country

13 August 2018
Competition opens
20 August 2018
London briefing event.
19 September 2018 12:00pm
Registration closes
26 September 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
16 November 2018
Applicants notified
14 December 2018
Phase 1 contracts awarded.
14 December 2018
Date feedback provided by.

Before you start

To apply:

  • the lead applicant must register online using the green button, completing a separate registration for each proposal submitted
  • read the guidance for applicants for this competition
  • consider attending the briefing event in London for potential applicants
  • complete and upload your online application for phase 1, completing a separate form for each innovation proposed

We will not accept late submissions. Your application is confidential.

A selected panel of experts will assess the quality of your application. We will then choose the best proposals from those that meet the aims of this competition.

Please use Microsoft Word for the application form. If you use any other software your application will be ineligible.

Background and further information

About SBRI competitions

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector. This can lead to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. SBRI supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services. It does this through the public procurement of research and development (R&D). SBRI generates new business opportunities for companies and provides a route to market for their ideas. It also bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early-stage companies.

Further help and information

You can find information on how to enter this competition in the invitation to tender document, which is available for download on our secure site after registration.

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information, contact the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at

Questions on the scope of this competition should be emailed to and

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