Out of the 13 projects that over 60 young innovators from all over the world pitched to the Y4PT Global Transport Hackathon jury during the 2019 UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Stockholm, three winning teams were rewarded for the outstanding quality and creativity of their solutions to mobility-related issues. We sat down with a participant from each team to find out more about their personal take on this inspiring experience. Keep reading to find out what it’s like to take part in the Y4PT Hackathon journey!
Third place: COMPAL
“We have the perfect team”, said Nick Van Appeldoorn, researcher at Breda University of Applied Sciences, when describing the group of young innovators behind the winning project Compal. Nick was referring to the diversity of profiles that this project brought together and to which it partly owes its success: Alex Coster is a data developer from New York, Mariam Khalifeh is a construction manager from Dubai, Lucia Moreno Gonzalez Paramo is a Spanish constructor engineer living in Manchester, Ignacio O’Mullony is a Spanish digital designer and Jennifer Guzman studies at the Universidad del Azuay in Ecuador.
Compal is an on-demand ride-sharing system created specifically to solve the issue of traveling from an airport in a foreign country. The user downloads the mobile app, fills in his/her needs, how many people he/she wants to share the ride with, chooses the final destination and puts in a price preference, and is then provided with solutions. The app also promotes sustainable travel by indicating how many CO2 emissions each journey would produce so that users can make conscious choices, and matches your profile with other users to share your ride with based on a range of aspects.
Asked about his experience as a participant of the Y4PT Global Transport Hackathon, Nick explained that “discussing with various experts attending the UITP Summit to see in which direction they thought we should head helped us a lot to get from our concept to our product: that’s really something that happens organically and which you can’t do over skype or by email”.
We saw that there is really a market for our idea of connecting flight data with travel
Additionally, coming to life in such a positive environment seems to have secured a promising future for Compal: “we saw that there is really a market for our idea of connecting flight data with travel. The airport of Manchester already said they are interested in developing a pilot version of our project, and a commissioner from Dubai also showed a strong interest for the idea”.
Second place: BLI
BLI stands for “bicycle living innovation”, explains Dany Rubiano, computer civil engineer graduate from the University of Santiago, Chile and co-creator of this highly innovative project that could, indeed, revolutionise life on a bicycle.
Dany and his team – Sebastián Gonzales, Marco van Nieuwenhoven, Richard Yantas and Juan Acostupa – created a safety vest which provides navigation assistance for cyclists or those travelling by e-scooters to prevent accidents. The user connects his/her smartphone to the vest and chooses his/her destination.
The vest will guide the user to his/her final destination, and will use signaling lights so that other vehicles in the area are aware of where the user is headed. The vest also has an emergency feature for accidents. If the user crashes, the vest sets off an alarm and visible signal, in case the user has fallen out of sight. Emergency services are contacted if the user is not responsive.
“Attending the UITP Summit gave us many opportunities to showcase our project and to possibly further develop it in the future – for example, we had the chance to discuss our idea with the public transport minister of Columbia” explains Dany.
We had the chance to discuss our idea with the public transport minister of Columbia
First place: TRES
Winners of the grand prize, team Tres came with an innovative mobility solution that tackles the global issue of food waste. “Food waste is about a third of our waste, and public transport is infrastructure that’s already there. So what we thought was: why not use the one to deal with the other?” explains Hugh Fergusson, urban design student at Breda University of Applied Sciences.
Together with Peruvian engineer Ali Medina, Ecuadorian sociologist Francisco Vicuna, Ecuadorian architect Juan Diego and German high school student Nina Ebel, Hugh co-created a policy model to use recycled organic waste to power vehicles in a clean, sustainable way. Tres seeks to add food waste receptacles in buses to create green energy to fuel sustainable transport in cities. Additionally, the team also plans to partner with local restaurants and supermarkets to pick up their food waste or nearly expired products, at low-volume periods of the day (so as not to reduce public transport capacity), to redistribute still edible food to shelters for those in need.
No matter what the future entails for Tres, Hugh sees it with a positive mindset: “that’s the beauty of the Ring – cities who signed the charter are committed to putting our ideas into research and taking them a step further – if it fails it fails, fine, just let me know why and where I can improve”.
I now see that with the constant leap of change public transport is currently undergoing, it is certainly fun to work with
From his experience at the UITP Summit, Hugh also brings back some valuable insights: “I initially saw mobility as this rather uninteresting kind of road building – but I now see that with the constant leap of change public transport is currently undergoing, it is certainly fun to work with. From this point forward, I’ll be a very aware urban designer in this field”.
Congratulations to the three winning teams and to all participants of the 3rd Y4PT Global Transport Hackathon for their outstanding contributions to the future of public transport!
Visit the Y4PT website for more information on the Y4PT Transport Hackathon series.
Want to know more about the digital trends in the mobility sector? Check out UITP’s new Mobility as a Service (MaaS) report and Policy Brief!