Go-Ahead Group wanted a specific programme that could foster innovation and a forward-looking, collaborative approach to problem-solving within its vast organisation. Alt Labs was appointed to create and run ‘The Billion Journey Project’ to generate a culture of fresh-thinking and change.
When it launched, The Billion Journey Project was the UK’s largest transport proof of concept programme, helping start-ups and scale-ups to implement their products across the industry. The first cohort of the programme was completed by 10 businesses, with seven going on to receive ongoing contracts with Go-Ahead Group.
The team also ran a unique accelerator programme over 12 weeks to deliver solutions to challenges set by Go-Ahead Group.
Go-Ahead Group consists of 12 bus and five rail companies in the UK, making it responsible for over a billion journeys on its network and infrastructure. This presented challenges in ensuring great customer experiences, a strong digital presence, data collaboration and disseminating real-time information.
With so much disparity, it was difficult to coordinate resources for innovative projects. Go-Ahead Group were keen to foster an environment where departments could engage with alternative thinking solutions and generate new ideas and approaches to problems. Senior leaders wanted a programme that would offer ambitious start-ups the chance to improve the experience of a billion passenger journeys a year across multi-modal travel.
Go-Ahead Group appointed Alt Labs to address the challenge. The team created ‘The Billion Journey’ project. The project is an umbrella for new technology development, led by an innovation team to understand, solve and prototype fixes to the existing business challenges.
Alt Labs also created a unique Accelerator Programme to deliver solutions. The programme brought together businesses with unique products or services, to help improve the journey of a billion customers. Workshops ran over a 12-week period, leading to a demo day.
‘The Billion Journey’ project helped to deliver a culture of innovation and change within organisations, across multiple departments. For start-ups, The Billion Journey Project, offered an unprecedented opportunity to test out their products in a live environment, offering real data and real customers they’d be unable to access through other channels.
The first cohort of the project delivered a number of success stories including:
- Airportr: The winner of the first cohort, Airportr is an app-enabled digital service platform allowing passengers to check bags in from home.
- Commuter Club: A UK-based financial services company that provides loans for annual season tickets, allowing commuters to pay in monthly installments.
- TravelAI: A software and context-sensing platform that generates unique insights into how people use transport infrastructure.
- Sheprd: A transportation platform that provides scheduled ride-sharing options for students.
- City Swift: A business intelligence platform utilising big data and predictive analytics to optimise urban bus networks.
- Zeelo: An on-demand coach service using AI-powered algorithms to deliver on-demand coach services.
- Ticketless: An all-in-one app for ticketing, journey planning, and real-time travel information.
- Hygiene Pro Clean: A complete turnkey solution for specialist cleaning, infection control and decontamination.
- Bontouch: An international innovation agency which produces unique and transformative digital customer experiences.
- Realtime Knowledge: A workflow and task management company that provides desktop and mobile inspection, patrolling and reporting tools.
Of the 10 companies that completed cohort one, seven of them were awarded ongoing contracts with Go-Ahead Group.