After working collaboratively with Ford Motor Company, AT&T, Dell Technologies, Microsoft and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Pittsburgh today announces its winning projects from the City Of Tomorrow Challenge™.
Two of the winning proposals will each be awarded $50,000 to fund a pilot program that will test their implementation in a real-world setting
The Ford City of Tomorrow Challenge™ is a crowdsourcing platform created to help prepare cities for the future, bringing groups of people together to design and pilot new solutions to help improve mobility in cities
Pittsburgh, PA., Nov. 28, 2018 – After working collaboratively with the residents in Pittsburgh to identify transportation challenges and propose new ways to improve mobility in their communities, the City of Pittsburgh announces the winning pilot proposals for the Ford City of Tomorrow Challenge™.
Two of the winners, iomob and Safe Shift, will each be rewarded with $50,000 in prize money to test the implementation of their proposal in the real world. The third winner, Intersection, has requested no prize money from the City of Tomorrow Challenge, as its proposed LinkPGH program is supported through its own advertising revenue.
The first of the three winners is iomob, a user-friendly, open and inclusive form of “mobility as a service” aimed at addressing “inefficiencies” in a multi-modal but “fragmented mobility landscape.” Iomob allows end-users to discover, combine, book, and pay for the mobility services that best cover their needs at a given point of time. Iomob will be implemented as an open-source, decentralized platform that leverages blockchain to allow all mobility providers to easily join the platform. By connecting all the mobility operators in an area, iomob aims to enable users to find better combinations of services for any given trip.
Safe Shift, meanwhile, is a team that came together as part of the Mobiliti Conference in Pittsburgh in early October. The team consists of representatives from local transportation and advocacy groups, students, and an urban mobility data and analytics company called Moovit. Safe Shift is focused on getting night shift workers to and from work safely and efficiently. By talking to local employers, the Safe Shift team identified the needs of shift workers who travel while tired and in the dark, and they plan to aid these shift workers by providing safe and reliable transit during off peak and unpredictable hours.
Finally, Intersection has been chosen as the third winner. Intersection is a company that aims to address the connectivity gap many Pittsburgh residents face, whether it’s connectivity to the internet, local transit information, or city services. To address these needs, Intersection proposes to deploy digital kiosks, dubbed LinkPGH, which provide free high-speed public WiFi, phone calls to anywhere in the U.S., device charging, wayfinding, community messaging, and other amenities around the city.
“The people of Pittsburgh were integral to this Challenge,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto. “They defined the need. Testing this in the real world, they will also help us evaluate this as a solution. We appreciate the partnership with Ford in not only thinking deeply about the challenges we face, but helping us to act quickly to find the ideas and entrepreneurs that can help address them.”
Launched in June, the City of Tomorrow Challenge™ is a crowdsourcing platform created to help prepare cities for the future by identifying new mobility designs and innovations that could improve the way people get around. The Challenge platform brought together officials, residents and local businesses in Pittsburgh, as well as key program sponsors AT&T, Dell Technologies, Microsoft and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, encouraging people to share their mobility experiences.
“These proposals all focus on some of the issues that Pittsburgh residents shared with us during the community engagement phases of the Challenge,” said John Kwant, vice president, Ford City Solutions. “Working closely and collaborating with the people who will use solutions like these are one way in which we hope we can start to make a positive impact on people’s mobility.”
After hearing numerous stories from local Pittsburgh residents, the City of Tomorrow Challenge received more than 125 unique proposals for mobility solution pilots. The Challenge’s Steering Committee, comprised of industry experts, partner representatives, and locals, selected 13 semi-finalists. Those semi-finalists had the opportunity to work with a mentor and local accelerator to further refine their proposals before a winner was selected.
Throughout the Challenge, people were encouraged to submit ideas in four key areas:
Enable Simple Transportation Choices: How might we bring useful information that increases traveler confidence in a variety of different transportation options? Knowing when the bus will arrive, where the bike paths are, where the safe sidewalks are, how traffic or weather will impact driving time, and even what side of the street to stand on while waiting for the bus are key for planning one’s commute. Information, whether it is displayed digitally on a smartphone, written on a physical sign, or shared between neighbors, is fundamental to moving around the city.
Extend Mobility Options: How might we extend the reach of the existing transportation networks with new services and modes? What mobility options can extend or enhance the existing infrastructure and services? How can we improve access to work, education, health, and public services, and build off existing transit, bike-share and other services, especially for those who currently have issues accessing them? How can we increase viable transportation options at times when there are few good choices?
Encourage Walking, Biking, And Busing: How might we build travelers’ confidence and desire to walk, bike, or take the bus as a part of their everyday trips? For example, riding a bike alone around the city for the first time can be daunting for even the most seasoned cyclist. A visitor may not know how to pay for the bus or signal the stop they want to get off on. People may get turned around and confused on city streets or not understand how to cross a complicated intersection. What solutions might raise the “journey confidence” of Pittsburgh travelers or lower the barriers to trying something new, like walking, biking, or taking the bus?
Design Creative Infrastructure: How might we enhance the transportation experience through the design of welcoming infrastructure? Travel should be inviting and even fun, whether it is an everyday commute or a special trip to see the sights. Travelers should feel respected, and waiting and travel should be a dignified experience. Applicants were encouraged to submit proposals for creative designs or technologies to improve the infrastructure and enhance the experience of getting from place to place. This includes new ideas and designs that improve walking on a sidewalk, crossing an intersection, biking, waiting at a bus stop, or other parts of people’s journeys.
For more information on the semi-finalists and other proposals that were submitted, visit the City of Tomorrow Challenge website.