This high-tech gadget at Cambridge Station could make it much easier to travel across the city

A new mobile travel app and public digital information screens have been launched in Cambridge.

People travelling across the city by bus, train, bike or on foot can use the app and ‘wayfinding’ screens to plan their journeys.

The free ‘MotionMap’ smartphone app pulls together real time and local timetable information to help predict travel times and routes.

Yesterday (June 20) the first smart screen was erected outside Cambridge Station, with more planned for the Trumpington Park & Ride site this summer.

Lewis Herbert prepares to officially open the new screen at Cambridge Station
Lewis Herbert prepares to officially open the new screen at Cambridge Station
(Image: Warren Gunn)

The journey planning tools are being developed by Smart Cambridge, an initiative led by Cambridgeshire County Council and partly-funded with £1.6 million by the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP).

How the new technology works

The new MotionMap travel app, which also features a carbon counter, has been developed by Cambridge-based business Build Intellect.

Already used by more than 300 people, its creators hope their feedback will help inform improvements.

Smart Panel lobby screens are also being installed in the foyers of public buildings and large employers, including Cambridgeshire County Council’s Shire Hall and AstraZeneca’s Academy House offices, to offer travel and other information for staff and visitors.

Using the new MotionMap travel app for Cambridge
(Image: Smart Cambridge/Cambridgeshire County Council)

Data for the app and screens is collated through the Intelligent City Platform (iCP) and LoRa network, developed by the Cambridge University, together with other data sources such as Google Transit, Twitter feeds and weather reports.

Bus and train times, traffic monitors, air quality readings, and cycle sensors are among of daily collected data used to predict traffic movements and provide real-time information.

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CB1 development

Making Cambridge a smart city

Cllr Lewis Herbert, leader of Cambridge City Council and interim chair of the GCP said the new tools would help people travelling around Cambridge and reduce congestion.

The city could be the centre of a technological boost
The city could be the centre of a technological boost

He said: "The new app and screens at the station and other city locations will be further developed and the data expanded, but we want these tools in use now – so residents, commuters and visitors can test them out and tell us how they can be made even better.

"Cambridge recently won the accolade of being one of Britain’s top ten smart cities, and this is yet another Smart Cambridge project contributing to keep us at the top, by using data and emerging technology to help people and the city tackle our massive congestion challenge and cut vehicle pollution."

Backed by business

Dr Andy Williams, vice president cambridge strategy and operations at pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, said the company was delighted to help pilot the smary panel lobby screens at its sites.

"Smart cities are developing fast across the globe," he said.

"Cambridge’s adoption of digital journey planning tools is an important step for the city.

The new screen in action
The new screen in action
(Image: Warren Gunn)

"We know it is hard to break travel habits. Access to precise and up to the minute information will help drive behaviour change for residents and commuters.

"For AstraZeneca, headquartered in Cambridge since 2016 and with a community of over 2,500 staff based here, this development supports our travel plans for staff, which are underpinned by encouraging sustainable choices."

An example of the smart panel screens being placed in company lobbies
(Image: Smart Cambridge/Cambridgeshire County Council)

Ian Sandison, CEO of Cambridge Business Improvement District (BID) said: "This revolutionary app and the smart screens interface perfectly with Cambridge’s global reputation as a leading centre of technology.

"Any app which can help residents, commuters and visitors travel in and around our city more easily is to be warmly welcomed – and the fact that it additionally encourages sustainable travel within our congested city is a huge plus."

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