An awards graphic showcasing TraffEase as a finalist in the inaugural Manchester Prize.

Loughborough led AI transport project shortlisted for prestigious national award

A Loughborough University led AI transport project, intent on helping the UK reach its net-zero targets, has been shortlisted for a national award.

TraffEase AI, which aims to effectively manage transport through transforming urban mobility data into actionable intelligence, has been named as a finalist for the inaugural Manchester Prize

The accessible platform aims to use artificial intelligence to integrate multi-source data to provide predictive traffic analytics to inform decision making for efficient and green mobility – ensuring it’s easy to use for non-experts.

The aim of the project is to empower city authorities to effectively manage transport to enhance the journey experience for the public. 

The project is one of ten to receive £100,000 as part of the prize fund initiated by the UK Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

The money will be used to develop their solution to the UK’s transport issues over the next eight months. Additionally, they’ll benefit from comprehensive support packages, including funding for computing resources, investor readiness support, and access to a network of experts.

A grand prize of £1million will be awarded to the overall winner in Spring 2025.

Project lead, Future Leaders Fellow Dr Haitao He from the University’s School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering said he’s thrilled this project in collaboration with Dr Hui Fang has been recognised: “This is great news for our team and for the project as this extra funding and recognition allows us to accelerate our research and innovation to help cities tackle critical challenges in transport with data intelligence.

“Domestic transport is the UK’s highest emission sector and congestion in our cities is extremely costly. Drastically reducing the dominance of urban cars is imperative to reach our 2050 net-zero targets. It also provides an unparallelled opportunity to create more equitable, inclusive, and accessible cities of the future across the country.”

University Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor Dan Parsons said: “I am delighted that the team led by Dr Haitao He, at Loughborough University has been awarded as a finalist in this exciting inaugural Manchester Prize.

“This is prestigious recognition which highlights the innovative research undertaken by the team here in Loughborough across artificial intelligence and its application to address the most pressing global challenges.

“For the final competition I am aware that the team are test-deploying their innovations in collaboration with Nottingham City Council which will lead to much greener and less congested transport at the city scale, underscoring our commitment as a University to benefiting our own regional economy as well as advancing transformative research that will have global impact.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 24/62

About the Manchester Prize:

The Manchester Prize is a multi-million-pound challenge prize from the UK’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) that rewards UK-led breakthroughs in artificial intelligence for public good. Every year for a decade, it will reward innovations that will help to transform the lives of the people across the UK and continue to secure the UK’s place as a global leader in cutting edge innovation.

The Manchester Prize delivered by Challenge Works, a global leader in designing and delivering high-impact challenge prizes that incentivise cutting-edge innovation for social good - part of UK innovation foundation Nesta. Visit:

About Loughborough University

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. 

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme and named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2024 QS World University Rankings – the eighth year running. 

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2025, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2024 and 10th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024. 

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes. 

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.