A competition offering £10m of funding to firms that can develop ways to move freight and people more efficiently is attracting strong interest.

The competition, dubbed “Enhancing the end-to-end journey”, was launched by government agency Innovate UK in August this year. It aims to cut traffic congestion by making journeys and freight delivery more efficient. Innovate UK predicts traffic congestion will cost the UK economy £300bn over the next 16 years.

Industry interest has been so strong that Innovate UK held an extra open day for potential bidders last week.

A spokesman said:“Normally we only hold one event but the level of interest for this particular competition has been such that we have held twoevents, one in Manchester and one in Edinburgh, both of which were very well attended.”

One key criteria is to improve the speed and efficiency of freight movement, particularly in London, which accounts for 40% of the UK’s traffic congestion, according to Innovate UK.

The spokesman said: “We want to see large and small businesses from different sectors working collaboratively.”

Each successful bidder will receive up to £3m in funding. Expressions of interest are due on 18 November.

Software firm Activ8 is part of a consortium including an unnamed operator, a London council and a traffic enforcement agency. Its bid centres around Activ8’s virtual parking system which books kerb space and notifies enforcement agencies of its legal use.

Activ8 founder Neil Herron told Motortransport.co.uk: “The government has grasped that if it’s to solve the problem of traffic congestion it needs to take a collaborative approach.”