Local Hub - DriverNet – Local Hub

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Objectives of the service

To upgrade the current DriverNet system into a new DRT (Demand Responsive Transport) solution that combining AI and satellite navigation to enhance the community use of existing passenger fleets in two settings 

  1. Optimising Patient Transport – Smart batching of patients and smart appointments
  2. Enhanced community use of fleets to promote health and wellbeing.

Doing so will reduce the amount of time and labour required for scheduling appointments and transport, costs of health-related transport and emissions and access to affordable transport to remain active or attend appointments.

Users and their needs

DriverNet will be targeted at users who suffer from transport poverty in relation to:

  • People with disabilities
  • Patients & out-patients
  • Low-income households
  • An ageing society
  • Independent living individuals
  • Parents & toddlers
  • BAME communities

The transport will enable patients to attend activities and events that will help to improve mental health issues, attendance to NHS appointments, access amenities and activities as well as reducing DNA’s.

Service/ system concept

The DriverNet Go system will allow partners to list activities and shuttles in on online hub, transport partners will be able to link to these activities. Users will be able to book rides online or over the phone, where DriverNet system will be used on the day to coordinate journeys.  

The concept will take groups of people from their homes or care homes / centres to local activities, appointments, events or amenities.  

A website will be the ‘portal’ for events and transport to be posted, whilst an app will be used for patients and users to book and arrange transport. SMS notifications will be sent when the drivers are on their way or nearby to their location.

Space Added Value

DriverNet ‘s core services utilise satellite technology to power its navigation and rerouting systems as well as share real time GPS locations of vehicles between patients, passengers, and NHS sites. DriverNet combines this technology with AI and ML to automate the scheduling of patient’s appointments, route optimisation and driver / passenger coordination reducing overall administrative and transport costs for the NHS.

Current Status

There has been an adoption of a new ‘DriverNet Local Hub’ product name, to reflect the wider community potential of the project, along with the purchase of the trademark for this name.

There is a launch arranged for early July 2021, pending Government COVID restrictions which will include participating stakeholders including NHS, St Helens CCG and other local retailers and community transport groups.

A successful soft launch was carried out on 30th June 2021, which saw the DriverNet app used to co-ordinate a trip that included the pick-up and return of independent living residents to Morrisons, as well as collection of users taken to a mass vaccination centre. Further trials are expected 9th July taking residents to a local market as well as other disadvantaged locals to vaccination sites within pharmacy locations.

There has been significant community response including validated groups such as The Salvation Army and local homeless and mental health awareness organisations, Torus housing group and other housing associations who are willing to participate and pay for the system to connect with local under-used vehicles on behalf of their clients.

Contracts between ProNetix and Lancaster University covering WP 5100 have been drafted and expected for the first week of July 2021.

The development team have undertaken a series of proof of concept ‘proving runs’ to inform product development, including the soft trials. 

The upgrade of core systems continues to make good progress, specifically fleet capacities and constraints with work now commencing on increasing capabilities of the core system.

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 25 August 2021 - Created: 25 August 2021