In a bid to fast-track digital and high-tech developments into the rail industry, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has introduced a new innovation programme – LNER FutureLabs.
This aims to provide an opportunity for tech and digital start-ups to put their ideas to the test in an industry that holds a huge amount of potential when it comes to overcoming the challenges of personalisation, encouraging increased usage and improving sustainability.
As part of a virtual 10-week programme focused on helping world-class innovators to test and scale their technology, LNER FutureLabs poses three challenges:
- More Journeys, More Often – digital services and solutions that encourage more people to travel by train;
- Personalised Customer Experience – innovations which can simplify, personalise and enhance the journey of every passenger;
- Responsible Business Innovation – delivering a railway network that is better for both the natural environment and for our local communities.
LNER’s chief digital and innovation officer Danny Gonzalez explained: “Our ambition is to truly transform rail travel for the benefit of our customers and communities.
“We’re not just talking about micro-changes that tinker around the edges. We’re looking to take advantage of some of the world’s latest digital and tech developments to improve our service.
“This is a huge opportunity for brilliant and passionate start-ups to work with us in setting new standards for rail travel in the UK.”
Successful applicants to the LNER FutureLabs programme will receive unprecedented access to LNER’s live operational environments, one-to-one mentoring from senior team members and the opportunity to apply for funding to scale a proof-of-concept.
Shortlisted companies will be contacted from 8 May and invited to pitch their ideas before three are chosen to move forward to the next stage, where the proof-of-concept will be developed in partnership with LNER. A Demo Day will then be held in Central London in September.