Entrepreneurs, tech geeks and anyone else with a creative mind are being invited by the City of Melbourne to enter a challenge seeking to reduce transport congestion while also improving social isolation.

For the project, Melbourne has partnered with Citymart, an organisation that helps cities tackle complex urban and social problems by reaching out to an international network of innovators. The city has also received a grant equivalent to US$50,000 from the Rockerfeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Network.

The “Resilient Melbourne Citymart Challenge” is based on the idea that transport congestion and social disconnection have been two unwanted consequences of rapid urban development in the city, and that innovative solutions are needed to counteract those negative consequences.

“The objective of this challenge is to find new ways to make commuting more efficient and more enjoyable in the world’s most liveable city,” Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said.

“The solution could be confined to the CBD or it could be metropolitan in scale; it could be an app that tells you the best time to travel to work or a new ride sharing technology; it could be a people solution or an artistic solution, and it needs to use existing infrastructure.”

The key for the city is to avoid being overly prescriptive, however.

“Fundamentally, our focus is to enhance our city to be more socially connected and cohesive. Solutions that clearly articulate how they will contribute to this outcome will be viewed particularly favourably,” the competition instructions state.

“Given that these solutions must be relevant to local government delivery in Victoria, and Resilient Melbourne’s guiding principles, we are not looking for ideas that focus on large infrastructure procurement, or require the reconsideration of the city’s structure or governance.”

For congestion, success measures may include decreased volume of traffic, decreased travel time, decreased crowding on public transport, effective multi-modal transport sharing, decreased transport costs associated with congestion and/or decreased vehicular pollution.

Social connection success measures could be a decline in stress-related conditions that people attribute to travel time or conditions, incidents of positive social interactions during journeys, and increased sense of belonging in local neighbourhoods, and increased participation in community.

A challenge panel has been formed to judge the entries and work with the winner to implement their solution, and will include a number of government, academic and industry bodies, including RMIT University, Infrastructure Victoria, VicRoads, RACV, Foundation for Young Australians, Committee for Melbourne, Public Transport Victoria, University of Melbourne, the City of Melbourne’s Smart City Office, and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

  • See here for further information or to participate

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