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Call for hi-tech ideas to make transport system accessible

Call for hi-tech ideas to make transport system accessible and inclusive

The NZ Transport Agency is looking to unleash the potential of technology to create a more accessible and inclusive transport system.

It’s chosen All Access as the theme for its second Hackathon – a 48-hour digital innovation event where people with diverse backgrounds and skills come together to brainstorm and collectively develop technology solutions.

“There are people and parts of New Zealand whose needs are not yet met by our current transport system, whether that’s through geography, affordability, literacy, physical accessibility, or other factors,” says the Transport Agency’s Director of Connected Journey Solutions, Martin McMullan.

“The challenge for the weekend will be to use technology to bridge that gap to create a more accessible and inclusive transport system.”

“The hackathon fits with the Transport Agency’s strategic priority of creating ‘one connected transport system’ – improving system performance by integrating digital technology with physical infrastructure to create a safe, connected system that works for everyone.”

Last night (Monday), about 50 people attended the launch of the hackathon, which will be held in Auckland from 21 to 23 September with 120 participants who volunteer their time.

“We’re looking for problem solvers, creatives, developers, analysts, behavioural experts, UX designers and anyone who wants to make a difference,” says Mr McMullan.

Participants will work in teams on specific ideas with help from mentors with business, design, technology or subject matter expertise. Local and international suppliers will bring the latest technology and insights to help bring each team’s solution to life.

Members of the winning team from the first hackathon will also share their knowledge and mentoring skills.

The hackathon in March focussed on the theme “Save One More Life” and 12 teams formed over the weekend to look for new ways of making the roads safer and improve driver behaviour.

The winning team proposed an app to incentivise safe driving behaviour in teenagers on restricted licences. The Transport Agency is investigating options on the concept of ‘hours behind the wheel’ logging by an approved device as a qualifier to reduce the restricted license period.

Mr McMullan says the March hackathon was a huge success, with 120 registrations received within the first 48 hours.

“It was our first event. We didn’t really know how it would go, but it was awesome to see the teams tackle real life problems from a customer–focussed perspective and do it in a way that was fresh, creative and inspiring. We’re hoping for more of that this year as we focus on improving transport access.”

For more on the All Access hackathon or to register, go to nzta.govt.nz/all-access

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