Ten start-ups announced for Billion Journey Project 2020

  • Ten start-ups and SMEs have been selected for Go-Ahead Group innovation drive
  • Project aims to uncover innovators who will play a role in the future of the transport sector
  • The process will conclude with a “demo showcase” in March 2020

18 December –Ten global creative start-ups and SMEs have the chance to have their ideas and innovations adopted in the drive to improve the transport experience for customers in the UK.  

Ten start-ups were selected by the Billion Journey Project board to take part in the programme that supports innovation in the travel sector in collaboration with leading bus and rail operator, Go-Ahead Group.
The finalists include Peakon, a concept to utilise employee feedback for better employee satisfaction, and Esoterix, a system which provides multi-modal transport analysis.*

Named after the billion journeys that Go-Ahead provides to customers every year, the scheme’s previous successes include an app for disabled transport users called “Passenger Assist”, which allows users with a disability to book assistance when they travel by train.

Further programme successes include AirPortr, which allows airline passengers to check in their baggage from home when taking the train to the airport, an app often utilised by passengers on Go-Ahead’s Gatwick Express service.

For the project, Go-Ahead have partnered with innovation agency Co:cubed to collaboratively provide a programme that supports and develops the innovators. The start-ups have been given a brief to help Go-Ahead's  bus and rail companies to enhance the passenger experience, to reach new riders, to drive culture, to improve sustainable travel, and to prepare for the future of transport.

Mark Anderson, Head of Commercial Innovation at The Go-Ahead Group said;

“The start-ups in our third year of the programme are better than ever. Working with innovators from all over the world is a fantastic way to keep finding solutions that enhance our bus and rail services, and we’re very proud to provide the opportunity to develop and grow the ideas of these 10 exciting contenders.”

Over the next 12 weeks, applicants will be provided with experience within the transport service and be able to attend world-class workshops with experts from various sectors to enhance their skills.

Mark continued:

“The future landscape of transport will be shaped by innovation that benefits our customers, employees and other stakeholders. We can’t wait to see what transpires.”

The process will culminate in a “demo showcase” in March 2020, which will see the start-ups present their tailored solutions to an audience including Go-Ahead executives, technology experts and potential investors. The start-ups who successfully demonstrate how their core capabilities can address Go-Ahead’s challenges, and those of the wider transport industry, will have the opportunity to explore potential pilot partnerships with Go-Ahead Group.



For more information please contact:

Go-Ahead press office
020 7799 8999 

Notes to editors

*Other start-ups in the programme include:
  • Aclima - which uses machine learning and cloud computing to map air quality
  • Codec - that uses online content to identify and target ‘cultural tribes’
  • Concured - an AI platform that helps clients better understand target audiences
  • Emu Analytics- a data analytics and visualisation start-up that helps clients understand how their infrastructure is being used in real-time
  • OpenCapacity - a tech start-up that collects and analyses and predicts customer information in real-time
  • Optibus - which plans and schedules the movements of every vehicle
  • Swiftly - that works with transport companies and cities to improve urban mobility
  • BetterPoints - a behavioural change management system


Go-Ahead is one of the leading UK public transport operator companies.  Our purpose is to be the local partner taking care of journeys that enhance the lives and wellbeing of our communities across the world.  Employing around 29,000 people across our businesses, over 1.2 billion passenger journeys are undertaken on our rail and bus services every year. In addition to the travelling public, our customers include governments and local authorities. We are committed to contributing to tackling climate change, improving air quality and reducing social isolation, and aim to run a zero emission bus fleet by 2035.


Go-Ahead is one of the UK's largest bus operators. With a fleet of nearly 6,000 buses, we carry over two million passengers every day. We have a strong presence in London, with around 23 per cent market share, where we provide regulated services for Transport for London. Outside London, we principally serve high-density commuter markets, including the North East, Greater Manchester, East Yorkshire, East Anglia, South East and South West England. Internationally, we operate a bus contract in Singapore and two bus contracts in Ireland. 


The rail division operates two franchises in the UK and two contracts in Germany. In the UK, Southeastern and GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) operate through our 65% owned subsidiary, Govia, which is 35% owned by Keolis. It is the largest rail operation in the UK, responsible for around 30 per cent of all UK passenger rail journeys through its rail franchises. In Germany, our contracts are run exclusively by Go-Ahead.


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