Design process started for Cambridge metro megaproject (CAM)

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The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority in the UK is putting some of the best brains in engineering, science, tech, and digital to shape the future of the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM) by developing conceptual designs for the vehicle, its infrastructure, and how the system might operate. Authority is testing the market for existing and potential technologies, innovations, designs, operational systems, and commercial ideas that conceptualize an in-the-round mass transit solution that meets the key aims of CAM.

The conceptual design challenge is casting the net as wide as possible by encouraging participation across consultancy firms, small businesses, academics and other experts. Consortiums are also welcomed, enabling suppliers with certain fields of expertise to join with others in providing a whole CAM solution.

Bold, creative, but also realistic and value-for-money designs are required to cover:

  • The CAM vehicle: What a proposed autonomous metro vehicle could look like, including considerations around guidance, operating systems, and how it can be futureproofed against rapidly changing technology.
  • CAM infrastructure: What infrastructure the vehicle would run on, including the IT system and recommended approaches for their design, build, operation, safety assurance, and maintenance.
  • Operations: How the CAM will run, and what the customer experience should be like.
  • Commercial relationships: Creative opportunities for revenue streams that will support the funding of the CAM.
  • The environment: Ensuring CAM is world-leading in protecting the environment.

The resulting three conceptual designs are targeted to be completed in March 2021. They are not intended to be the conclusive delivery solution for CAM, but will help inform how the scheme develops further. They will help identify opportunities for innovative approaches, support the development of a business case, and build interest from suppliers more widely who at some stage may want to bid on future phases of CAM work.

A staged procurement process, starting early October, will ultimately identify by December 2020, three top-scoring tenderers who will be awarded contracts to develop the conceptual designs in full. Three sequenced milestones – ‘stage-gate’ reviews – will follow, ensuring the best possible designs are delivered by the target date of March 2021.

The Authority will also establish an arrangement to retain access to those successful suppliers for the purposes of further engagement regarding their proposed conceptual designs for CAM. 

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