Transport for NSW backed hackathon won by commuter distribution solution

Winning team joins Blue Chilli smart cities accelerator programme

A hackathon backed by Transport for NSW has been won by an app that lets rail users and operators identify carriage occupancy in real time.

The winning ‘My Spot’ team won $3000 in prize money and will now join a Blue Chilli accelerator programme for smart cities start-ups.

“We are absolutely thrilled to win,” said My Spot team leader Darren Fraser, a director at energy management company Schneider Electric, which hosted the two day event in Sydney earlier this week.

“Inspired by the challenges we face in our every-day life, the team knew there was an opportunity to harness the power of technology to make a real difference. Once the initial excitement has worn off, we look forward to exploring how we can take our vision and turn it into reality.”

By encouraging a more even distribution of passengers across the train, load and unload times are reduced, helping in the efficient running of the network, Fraser explained.

Twelve teams, made up of industry experts, start-ups and academics each took on one of three challenges ‘arising from increased urbanisation in our cities’.

The first focused on citizen satisfaction, the second around employee engagement and the third concerned the creation of an integrated transport system.

The teams were judged by a panel including Shark Tank investor, Steve Baxter, Pacific region president of Schneider Electric, Gareth O’Reilly and Colette Grgic, innovation officer at Blue Chilli.

“We’re extremely passionate about technology and innovation which is why it is great to be involved in events like this,” said Jacinta Hargan, director future transport at Transport for NSW.

“For us it’s exciting to see like-minded innovators come together to showcase their amazing work. Technology offers limitless possibilities for improving and personalising the public transport experience and we’re proud to support launchpads for innovators.”

Winners were also selected for each challenge. Team Mem designed an app to facilitate communication on medical information between a patient and their personal support network; Team Breaking Good proposed an interactive platform that gave real-time feedback on an everyday habit at work; and Team Pulse used facial recognition software to capture data on pedestrian movements during the 'last mile' of travel into the city to improve transport planning.

The hackathon is the latest in a series of Transport for NSW backed innovation initiatives, following the launch of its Future Transport Technology Roadmap in November.

The agency’s Personal Trip Plan API challenge last year led to the release of three endorsed travel apps in March. Last month the agency made data based on usage of New South Wales’ Opal travel card publicly available.

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