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News   >   Success as Hackathon reveals innovative data to shape a Smarter Suffolk
Success as Hackathon reveals innovative data to shape a Smarter Suffolk
Published: 25 October 2021
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‘A Smarter Suffolk’ is part of the £22.9m ADEPT Places Live Labs Programme funded by the Department of Transport

Students from across the county joined forces at University of Suffolk to explore and develop the science and data emerging from Suffolk County Council’s Live Labs: A Smarter Suffolk project.

The Smarter Suffolk Hackathon is a ground-breaking collaboration between University of Suffolk students and staff, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Highways, and BT.

This event gave a rare opportunity for students to compete and crack down on real-time data which has emerged from the Live Labs: A Smarter Suffolk project, which focusses on data surrounding air quality, winter gritting, traffic flows, gully data, and street lighting.

The Hackathon was designed to work on some of the key challenges faced by Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Highways and their ambition to transform local authority services. Participants had the full day to work at their pace with data and problems; with access to Suffolk County Council, BT, and University of Suffolk for any queries that may arise.

Focused on generating tangible outputs and practical solutions, participants’ insights will unlock new ways of thinking and new visions on Suffolk County Council’s data. The event will contribute to Suffolk County Council’s innovation strategy.

The day begun with presentations and challenges from Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Highways, BT and University of Suffolk technical experts. Participants were then encouraged to explore datasets from BT’s cutting edge project-specific Smarter Suffolk Data Exchange. Throughout the day participants presented their ideas and discoveries to a panel of experts, where was provided along with a certificate of participation after the event.

Councillor Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Ipswich, Highways and Flooding, said:

“Suffolk County Council is known for leading in innovative technology and the data coming from the ‘Live Labs: A Smarter Suffolk’ project is just the latest demonstration of this. This project will not only have huge benefits for our residents, but it also gives the county something to be really proud of, as successes from the trial will have the potential to be rolled out across the country.

“It has been fantastic to see the project continue its successes with this Hackathon event, with students working together to bring this newly gathered data to life.”

Professor Nicholas Caldwell, Associate Dean for Business Engagement for the School of Engineering, Arts, Science and Technology at the University of Suffolk, said:

"We are very grateful to Suffolk County Council and BT for organising this Hackathon under the auspices of the Smarter Suffolk project. At the University of Suffolk, we believe that all our students should have opportunities to gain real-world experience so that they are business-ready as well as technically expert.

“This Hackathon has challenged our students to test their data engineering mettle against rich datasets and seek answers to questions of importance to the county and the region more widely. Our students will take their new insights forward into their ongoing studies and beyond."

Dr Hannah Steventon, Research Associate for Live Labs: A Smarter Suffolk, said:

“I’m delighted that we can share the project data, highways’ challenges and BT’s Data Exchange from the Smarter Suffolk project with our students, who have been working alongside domain leaders and industry experts to explore and address real life decision-making.

“This Hackathon has been an exciting collaboration with Suffolk County Council and BT, and project partners from across the country.”

John Davies, BT’s Head of Future Smart Business Research, said:

“We’re excited to be involved in The Smarter Suffolk Hackathon and to be able to enable students from across the country to collaborate to build innovative applications using real data.

“BT’s work on the Smarter Suffolk project focuses on addressing key challenges and finding innovative solutions for local authority services. It’s a great opportunity to enable future technologists to consider real world issues and how they would tackle them with brilliant ideas.”

About ‘Live Labs: A Smarter Suffolk’
A Smarter Suffolk has been funded by the Department for Transport as part of the Live Labs programme. The Live Labs programme has been developed to help transform the use of digital innovation and smart data use in the highways sector.

Eight authorities have been granted funds by DfT, of which Suffolk County Council was awarded £4.41m, to deliver its proposed project, ‘A Smarter Suffolk’.

The main aim of the project is to use existing street lighting infrastructure across urban, rural and coastal locations, to provide a showcase of innovative technologies which bring efficiencies to Suffolk County Council now, and potentially other local authorities in the future.

For more information visit:…
Facebook: @SuffolkCountyCouncil
Twitter: @suffolkcc

About the ADEPT Smart Places Live Labs programme
The ADEPT SMART Places Programme is a five-year project examining and developing innovation to enable the adoption of innovative and digital technology across the local highway network. The initial research report ‘Digital Innovation: The route to the highways systems of the future’ was published in October 2017. In January 2019, ADEPT secured £22.9 million funding from the Department for Transport for Phase 3 of the programme, which sees the development of eight individual Live Labs projects led by local authorities across England with university and private sector partners. The Live Labs are piloting innovation across SMART communications, transport, highways maintenance, energy, materials and mobility. The ADEPT SMART Places programme has been developed with partners: SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, 02, Ringway and WSP.
For more information about ADEPT Live Labs visit:

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) represents local authority county, unitary and metropolitan Place Directors. Operating at the strategic tier of local government, members are responsible for delivering public services that primarily relate to the physical environment and the economy, but which have a significant impact on all aspects of the nation’s well-being. ADEPT represents members’ interests by proactively engaging central Government on emerging policy and issues, promoting initiatives aimed at influencing Government policy and through the development of best practices and responding to European and UK Government initiatives and consultations. Out wider membership includes Local Enterprise Partnerships, Combined Authorities, Sub-national Transport Bodies and Corporate Partners. For more information on ADEPT visit:
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