Skip to main content

Latest news & events

Live Labs 2 blog – inside the Live Labs 2 Expo 2024

The Live Labs 2 Expo 2024 was held in Birmingham on 17th April 2024. The event showcased all seven live lab projects, demonstrating the innovation, services and technologies work so far, looking at work currently in development and setting out priorities for the years ahead. You can read the press release for more information.

Matt Davey, one of the project leads from the Greenprint project, explains more about the Expo from a project’s perspective.

What were your expectations from the Expo?

I was really looking forward to seeing what the other projects were up to, how they had progressed and learning where there was crossover between the projects. It was the first time we were meeting in this way and we were looking forward to both seeing progress from the other projects and sharing updates from Greenprint.

Please describe your stand at the Expo.

Our team consisted of project managers, Jean Christophe and Chris as well as Emily and James from Amey, Genevieve and Colin from Nottingham University and Michele, who is the senior responsible officer at West Sussex. 

We focused on the processes we want to trial and showing people what is involved in them. We also had some jars of biochar for people to view – which was great as I had heard an awful lot about it, but ever actually seen any (let alone touched it) 

How did you prepare for your presentation at the event?

Ha – who has time for preparation? In reality, I took advantage of a day we spent at Amey’s offices in London where many of the team got together to reflect on our progress over the first 12 months and to plan what was coming next.  The team worked really hard to prepare our stand at the Expo and we also spent time putting together our presentation.

What were your initial impressions upon arriving at the event?

Busy. Much busier than I thought it was going to be. It was great to be so central in Birmingham, so very easy to get to.

Which exhibitors or presentations caught your attention the most and why?

I really liked the opening presentation by David Riley from Anglian Water. I think there is so much learning and experience we can take from other industry sectors to accelerate our move towards greening the highways industry. I was also really impressed by all of the talks from the other live lab projects. There is so much going on and the diversity of research is immense.

Did you engage in any networking opportunities during the expo? If so, what were some highlights?

It was really good to be able to catch up with people – although in reality it was so busy talking to people about what we were doing, that there perhaps wasn’t as much time for that as I would have liked. 

I did however manage to have a couple of chats to people about the general state of highways and how the future looks. There is a sort of black humour in sharing the pain of working in highways with others!

Were there any unexpected discoveries or insights you gained from the expo experience?

This was the first time I had had the opportunity to talk for any length of time with our academic partners and it was great to get a better understanding of some of the more technical aspects of what we are doing. Our team has changed a bit over the first 12 months and so having that opportunity was very valuable.

What were your goals or objectives as an exhibitor, and do you feel you achieved them?

Ultimately, I think I just wanted to make sure that others were able to hear about what we were doing and had the chance to triangulate their work with ours if possible. I think we had some positive movement on that and will be able to utilise the efforts of other Live Labs 2 projects to enhance our own project. 

Overall, we could have probably been a bit more focused on what we wanted to take from the Expo, but there is so much going on within the project that sometimes it is difficult to think ahead on every aspect.

In what ways do you think the expo will impact your work?

Utilising some of the testing work being done in other live lab projects will impact our project going forwards, so it was helpful to talk with other projects about this. 

It was also helpful to get a better understanding of how the monitoring and evaluation works will impact upon us.

How would you describe the overall atmosphere or energy of the expo?

Remarkably upbeat. It is really hard doing a major project like Live Labs 2 on top of the day job and I am extremely grateful to my team for all the effort they put into the project. 

Talking to others, I could tell there was a similar feeling across the programme – it requires enormous commitment from all of those involved and it has been hard on a lot of highway authorities over the past 12 months - so to keep going on this has been a credit to the industry’s dedication to wanting to improve and their ambition to decarbonise local roads.

Were there any particular challenges or drawbacks you encountered during the event?

Yes, the evening before I felt really ill and thought I may not make it!  And the train was late! But the event had enough positives to put those setbacks behind me.

How did you use the Expo as a networking opportunity and what connections did you make?

In addition to talking about our project and networking with the other Live Labs 2 projects, I also caught up on where we are in terms of network resilience. I made a positive contact with a contractor who may be able to support our general highways work going forward. I hadn’t expected to make either of those connections, so they were definitely bonus take aways!

Looking back, what would you do differently or what advice would you offer to other exhibitors for future events?

Make sure you insist on the free drinks token when you book into the hotel!. 

During the afternoon stand presentations there was a fair bit of noise bleed between the different presentations – so looking at how that could be improved would be good.

I’d like to pass my thanks onto the team - many thanks to Jean Christophe and Chris for setting up our stand and doing most of the donkey work in the stand presentations. And also Liza-Jane Gillespie who orchestrated the stand, graphics, material and communication in general, but was not able to attend on the day.

Further information

  • For more information on ADEPT Live Labs 2: Decarbonising Local Roads in the UK, please look at the Live Labs 2 section of the website
  • For more information about the Live Labs Project, please visit the Live Labs 2 Greenprint page
  • You can also visit the two project websites: and


Media enquiries: please contact Coast Communications 01579 352600 | VAT number: 337 0556 05 | Website by Cosmic