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Live Labs 2 blog – Transport for West Midlands: South Campus Progress

Innovations, collaboration, next steps

Following on from North Lanarkshire Council’s blog, which introduced the UK Centre of Excellence for Decarbonising Roads (North Campus) project, Tracy Cowley, Key Route Network Assets & Highways Maintenance Coordination Manager at Transport for West Midlands talks about the South Campus and how their project is progressing.

Mobilisation phase progress

The UK Centre of Excellence for Decarbonising Roads South Campus comprises Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and Colas. We have been very focused on mobilisation, ensuring that we have a robust plan to deliver an effective programme over the next three years. That includes advancing project documentation, planning strategy development and innovation sourcing.

Technical advancements and innovation initiatives

One of our highlights is the development of an ‘innovation hopper’ – this is a database which catalogues potential, unevaluated, innovations.

It has been produced through engagement activities with our combined supply chains and, over just a few weeks, the platform has collected nearly 150 material submissions in the innovation log. This shows how keen suppliers are to innovate, decarbonise and have their materials exhibited on the platform.

Although already well populated, our innovation log will be further developed over the next few months. We hope to go wider than just collecting materials innovations, by also including innovations that can decarbonise the highways sector across a range of solution types. At this point, we will then share the innovation log with other Live Labs 2 projects as a central collection point and as a discussion base.

We have also been developing an innovation scorecard, with a range of scoring metrics aligned with both Live Labs 2 and local highways authorities’ priorities. This will enable us to pre-evaluate the materials in our hopper, with a view to selecting to a final shortlist of demonstrators to be taken forward to trial.

In terms of innovation selection, we have worked with the North Campus on an initial trial sifting process to understand the various materials categories and how we approach pre-evaluation.

We are considering selecting patching and potholing solutions as the first focus of this phase, evaluating a range of materials and technologies that could be used in conjunction as part of a ‘pothole buster’ programme.

Collaborative efforts and communication

Forming a collaborative team with the North Campus has been another focus. The partnership between two projects has required specific effort and action towards aligning strategy and approach - four managing parties with distinct aims and styles are now performing well together.

The two projects have launched a website - - and we have a LinkedIn page with over 300 followers.

Members from both campuses also met to discuss collaboration with the East Riding Live Lab 2 project. Our discussions centred on shared learning, specifically in line marking innovations. The North Campus has agreed to share outputs of market analysis, while East Riding has generously offered additional testbed resources and historic data on previous line marking trial performance.

Looking ahead: next steps for the UK Centre of Excellence for Decarbonising Roads (South Campus)

The project is now moving from the innovation sourcing stage, into pre-evaluation - we are close to selecting an initial group of innovations for demonstrator delivery in early 2024.

Once procurement has been finalised, we will be able to mobilise all the partner subcontracts and begin the supplementary work packages. Local highway authority partners, having engaged with our project, are actively developing their carbon baselines, although there are some challenges due to a variety of approaches to data collection.

As the project progresses, our commitment to innovation, collaboration and strategic planning is setting the stage for transformative developments in road decarbonisation.

Further information


  • Tracy Cowley Key Route Network Assets & Highways Maintenance Coordination Manager at Transport for West Midlands.

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