Open Innovation for the Future of Public Transportation

Published Oct-23-17

Breakthrough:
An app-based alternative to smart ticketing on public transportation.

Company:
Transport Systems Catapult, United Kingdom

The Story:

Open Innovation for the Future of Public Transportation When Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) a UK-based innovation center for intelligent mobility was looking for the next big thing in transportation it turned to the wisdom of the crowd. The organization wanted to bring in a broad range of ideas and brand-new thinking to develop the transport solutions of tomorrow and address critical transport issues. So, it decided to set up an annual hackathon, the objective of which is to actively develop the best ideas.

Among the many benefits of hackathons is that they can yield brilliant ideas quickly saving organizations months perhaps years of time in brainstorming and ideation sessions. However, these creative forums of innovation are only really worth something when those ideas are acted upon and not left on the shelf.

In 2016, the second IMCreate Intelligent Mobility Hackathon took place over a 24-hour period. It was billed as the UK's only intelligent mobility hackathon. Designers, entrepreneurs, academics, and others had just 24 hours to come up with breakthrough solutions to problems faced by commuters and travelers around the UK. Participants organized themselves into six teams and they had at their disposal an array of large, complex data sets and cutting-edge hardware.

Innovative Winner

The hackathon was won by a team calling itself Total Trip for a Bluetooth Beacon-based technology solution that provides alternatives to smart ticketing on bus and train journeys. This novel app uses Bluetooth on a passenger's phone to identify the bus or train they have boarded and charges them the fare automatically.

"In a short space of time, Total Trip converted complex data and technology into an idea which can generate tangible improvements to the travelling public," said
TSC Marketing director, Stephen Lynn. "Total Trip’s Bluetooth enabled transactions will revolutionize how we travel and I can’t wait to see this rolled out across the UK."

Turning Winning Ideas into Action

Several months after their win, Total Trip received a grant of £100,000 (appox. USD $134,000) from InnovateUK (the UK’s government technology funding body) to further develop their idea. It was a significant recognition of its potential and how it will help change public transportation which is already starting to undergo massive transformations owing to the development of new technologies.

"With the advent of driverless travel and automation of the transport system, this type of technology will be essential," commented Richard Jordan one of the founders of Total Trip. "We’re looking forward to implementing the work set out in the bid and bringing true ticketless travel to the UK and across the world."

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