Innovation

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UK vehicle manufacturer Alexander Dennis sponsors this award

This is the category which recognises and rewards new thinking in the industry - amongst operators, authorities and suppliers. It focuses especially on products which can reduce improve efficiency or make bus travel more attractive.

A successful nomination for this Award needs to demonstrate development of an original or novel idea that achieves one or more of the following:

  • improves the image of the bus
  • stimulates interest in, or desire for, the bus product
  • improves the efficiency of the industry

This Award will be made for an innovation which, in the opinion of the judges, most contributes to the improvement of the bus product. Evidence of quantification of the benefits achieved is essential.

The 2015 Results

Winner, Gold Award

Diesel Into Hybrid - Ensign Bus Company and Vantage Power

Over the last three years, Ensign has worked closely with Vantage Power to bring to market the B320 System - a hybrid powertrain designed to retrofit existing double-decker buses. The B320 allows operators to upgrade older buses to the latest emissions standard while reducing fuel consumption by over 40%, and at a quarter the cost of buying new hybrid vehicles.

The judges were extremely impressed by this innovative after-market product, which can maximise the benefits of existing vehicles and minimise the capital cost. The ability of the system to replace the whole drive unit on vehicles stood out as different from other systems of retrofitting. The judges noted Vantage's role as the inventor and developer and that of Ensignbus in taking on the commercial risk to expand the system and in marketing it.

Winner, Silver Award

Bus passenger counting and occupancy screen - Transport for London

In 2014, as part of Transport for London's Year of the Bus celebration, the 'Innovations' group looked at ways to enhance the passenger experience through innovative technology. The bus passenger counting and occupancy screen initiative was introduced as a trial. The initiative seeks to encourage passengers to take a seat on the upper deck of a bus by indicating how many seats are available upstairs and where they are.

While the judges noted that the project is still in its infancy, they were very impressed by its potential for future development not least in dispersing crowds, spreading bus loads and improving the efficiency of the industry. The judges were interested to see how widely the trial could be applied in future and its ability to change behaviour on the ground.

Winner, Bronze Award

The Greater Manchester Young Person's mTicket - First Manchester

Research by First Manchester revealed the need to develop a targeted product for young bus users. The result is a ticket exclusively for 16-18 year olds - with unlimited use of services across Greater Manchester for ú10 a week - where no ID is needed. Instead, users upload a 'selfie' when they purchase the M-ticket to personalise the ticket.

While the judges noted that elements have appeared before, they were very impressed by the fact that First Manchester had carried out strong research, looked at the market and thought about the product. They welcomed the overall packaging and use of the mobile phone and 'selfies'.

Finalists

The Arriva Bus App: A Smarter Way to Travel - Arriva UK Bus

Arriva pioneered its national ticketing app in 2009 when it was launched. The aim of the app was to improve the customer experience of bus travel by providing real-time information as an essential tool for helping customers plan their journeys. Routes maps, timetable information and ticket information about all Arriva Buses are also available.

The features of the app impressed the judges and stood out as innovative for them.

The Gallery Bus - Yellow Buses

Yellow Buses was approached by an artist who found that if she drew while she travelled, she no longer got 'car sick'. A one month trial artist's residency resulted, attracting worlwdie media coverage and so was followed by eight more residencies with local artists. The desire to display the artwork produced the Gallery Bus, launched in March 2015. Between static displays, the double deck vehicle forms part of the local bus network rotating the routes it serves.

Who could be nominated?

This category was open to industry suppliers, operators and authorities either separately or in conjunction with one another.

… and by whom?

Nominations were welcomed from all eligible organisations, and self-nomination was acceptable.

Criteria and Entry Requirements

Entries were judged on the basis of the quality of the submissions, which needed to:

  • Provide a full description of the innovation, describing how it works and how it was introduced.
  • Explain how has it made a difference
  • Supply evidence of the overall trend(s) affected by the innovation, as appropriate, in:
    • patronage/revenue
    • customer satisfaction
    • cost and efficiency levels
  • State whether the results are likely to be sustainable
  • Describe any future plans for further development.
  • Include any relevant supporting material.
  • Describe the impact of the scheme on the accessibility of the bus product for people with mobility difficulties
  • Describe how the impact of the innovation was measured.
  • Describe how were staff informed and trained and the impact, if any, the innovation has had on their jobs
  • State whether any partners were involved and, if so, describe their roles
  • Describe the mechanisms put in place for public consultation (where appropriate) and for comment and feedback.