Electric Vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure - a vital component of London’s smart and green agenda - is being delivered by a wide range of public and private bodies across London (up to 50).
As a result of the project, we developed a dashboard to join up the EV Charging infrastructure in London to enable a collective understanding of what is already in place, how it is being used, and to guide future installations.
London is an administratively complex city because it is made up of 33 boroughs, within which there is further break down by ward. This project formed part of LOTI’s efforts to support London boroughs to collaborate, using data to improve public services and outcomes for Londoners.
Boroughs are increasingly interested in the potential of smart city technologies to improve outcomes for residents. Electric vehicles (EVs) and the charge points that support them are one instance of these that can enable boroughs to deliver better, greener outcomes for their residents.
When the project began, it was recognised that London lacked a single view of where charge points were located and how they were used. In part, this is because that data was held separately by each of London’s 33 boroughs without a mechanism or process in place for safely and securely sharing it with each other. This made future planning of infrastructure difficult.
User needs analysis (https://docs.google.com/document/d/16Zszf2eWjSFUXFJM_CJKxkXsJ-d8MnCQ8igci8-XdtQ/edit) conducted by LOTI revealed that there were three primary sets of people who need timely and accurate EV charge point information:
1. Londoners, who need to know where the nearest EV charge point is located and whether it is available;
2. Transport and Highway planners, who need to know where additional EV points are most needed based on demand; and
3. Charge point operators, who need to plan for their future commercial strategies.
The EV charge point dashboard (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1wBWgPjApA6S6KS3zSfvKROfEPZNH7etuiYtirWgc_iU/edit#slide=id.ga0418dcb06_0_107) solves this problem by providing transport and highway planners in London with the complete view of the location and usage of all EV points, down to small geographical sub-areas within each London borough.
Using Power BI, the dashboard consists of data for approximately 3,500 EV charge points, of which 161 are rapid charge points and the rest are on-street residential points delivered by London’s Go Ultra Low City Scheme (GULCS).
Data is provided quarterly by charge point operators and at the moment remains in the dashboard for a period of 12 months. The project is now working to put in place more sustainable ways for retaining all data sets for all periods, so that boroughs can benchmark and identify trends over time.
This project adds value by:
1. Sharing data on one central platform (the London Datastore, which is becoming London’s central register of useful datasets) for the first time;
2. Applying our co-developed guidance (https://loti.london/resources/tender-wording-data-access-api/) for putting standard terms in place to ensure that private sector suppliers share data consistently with the dashboard via automated data feeds (APIs) and following a set data standard; and
3. Providing boroughs with the ability to easily view and access the dynamic data to inform their decision making about this critical infrastructure.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
This project is innovative for three reasons. Firstly, it is the first time this type of data has been shared via one central platform, namely the London Datastore, which is becoming London’s central register of useful datasets. Secondly, standard terms have been put in place to ensure private sector suppliers share data on the location and use of their EV charge points consistently via automated data feeds and following a set data standard. Lastly, boroughs can easily access and view the dynamic data to inform their decision making about this critical infrastructure.
The approach of this project - combining datasets from across the capital to provide a single view across the whole of London, creating data standards to influence private sector operators, and using data to inform strategic decisions - provide a test case for how London can handle other forms of smart city infrastructure.
What is the current status of your innovation?
Having established the first dashboard, the project is now focusing on improving its usefulness by moving from having periodic to much more real-time data via the new API feeds. Additionally, a greater volume of historic data will be maintained on the platform to enable deeper analysis of trends over time. This will help ensure that planners can make decisions with the latest possible information and insights. The project is also exploring how other data sets including power capacity, traffic flows and demographics could be added to the dashboard to help predict and model future demand for EV charge points.
The project continues to meet with users of the dashboard across all London boroughs to understand more about their needs, promote its use and ensure that our work is conducted in the open so that it can benefit other cities and projects.
Collaborations & Partnerships
London Councils led work on London’s Go Ultra Low City Scheme (GULCS) and responsible for the installation of thousands of EV charge points. London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI) enabled and facilitated multi-organisational collaboration. Greater London Authority hosted the London Datastore and provided data analytics expertise. Charge point operators contributed to the development of common standards and the provision of data to feed into the London Datastore.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Primary beneficiaries are London public sector’s transport and highway planners, who need to have timely, complete and accurate data of where additional EV points are most needed based on demand. Having the ability to make more informed and strategic decisions will ensure EV charge points are located where Londoners most need them, which is vital to building consumer confidence, encouraging uptake and directly contributing to improvements in London’s air quality.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
We expect to see five different types of results in the future. Firstly, EV charge point deployment in London will be more strategically planned for and coordinated. Secondly, local Infrastructure planning policies will be informed by accurate data. Thirdly, any resident who needs to access a charge point will be able to do so easily and within a short distance of their location. Fourthly, the data collected will be standardized, which would then enables benchmarking and inform national policies. Lastly, charge point operators will have the ability to work with more informed and active customers, helping them plan for their future commercial strategies.
Challenges and Failures
1. Negotiating data sharing via central platform and data standards with charge point operators.
2. Getting buy-in from transport and highways planners for using the dashboard.
3. Promoting and ensuring the potential for large scale adoption.
4. Identifying and/or using adequate processes and criteria to measure success.
Conditions for Success
1. Boroughs’ shared objective to provide world-class green infrastructure for their residents and their recognition that this can only be achieved through collaboration. Boroughs recognised that it is only by working together and speaking with one voice that they are able to influence the supplier market to conform to the data standards necessary to build a coherent London-wide picture.
2. Technical infrastructure and data expertise provided by the London DataStore: having that single platform to which boroughs and suppliers can securely share and access data is a key enabler of this kind of project.
3. Leadership: LOTI has worked over the past two years to advocate for common data sharing standards across London, including the need for all suppliers to local government to provide access to data via API (https://loti.london/resources/tender-wording-data-access-api/).
4. Strong Relationships: building on existing relationships with charge point operators before proposing the solution.
LOTI sees a risk that, without a proactive effort to facilitate better coordination and collaborative working, London boroughs could procure and implement new smart city technologies in a siloed manner. The intention is for this project to provide a test case and template for how London can run future projects that concern smart city infrastructure.
The core approach and principles of this project include combining datasets from across the capital to provide a single view across the whole of London, creating data standards to influence private sector operators, and using data to inform strategic decisions. These are all points that we plan to replicate in future smart city projects.
What is more, LOTI works in the open. As a result, our approach, data standards, contract terms and methodology will all be shared publicly so that other cities in the UK and beyond can replicate the approach.
Co-designing and co-developing the tool with Transport and Highway planners working in local government, and commissioners, where possible, was crucial. We learned to start with basic functionality, test and then improve, which allowed for the time that it takes to gather feedback and get the relevant technical expertise to iterate the solution with users. Furthermore, developing a good working relationship with charge point operators was important, because they can support with uploading the data to the platform. Moreover, London’s administrative ecosystem is complex and it can be challenging to coordinate activities at pace, so it was important to ensure regular contact points with the users of the tool. Lastly, ensure that data access and standards clauses were incorporated into contracts was an important learning.
- Generating Ideas or Designing Solutions - finding and filtering ideas to respond to the problem or opportunity
- Implementation - making the innovation happen
24 September 2021