Citython Eindhoven 2021: Mobility solutions for more liveable cities
A six-day online hackathon, 60 participants, and three challenges focused on optimization of mobility, traffic safety and healthy future of cities. During the first edition of Citython Eindhoven, the Netherlands, which took place from 28 May to 2 June, multidisciplinary teams of young professionals put their creativity to the test, finding innovative mobility solutions to make 21st century cities more liveable.
Organized by CARNET (coordinated by CIT UPC) in collaboration with the City of Eindhoven, the Breda University of Applied Sciences and the Dutch Technology Week, this mobility hackathon brought together small groups of students and professionals, specialists in different backgrounds and expertise – from architects and urban planners to data scientists and engineers – to search innovative solutions that will solve mobility challenges which Eindhoven has identified as a priority for the policy of the city. This project is financed by EIT Urban Mobility, an innovation community supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.
“We are actually solving the mobility challenges and we would like to do that together. We do that together in the knowledge triangle, which means the universities, the industries and the cities”, said Edwin Heesakkers, Managing Director of Innovation Hub West at EIT Urban Mobility, during the launch event on 18 May. “We have to give public space back to the citizens for active walking, cycling, being there, have discussions, do sporting, etcetera, and this is the dream that we would like to be and to come true in the next ten years”.
Citython Eindhoven was organized 100% online in order to address the current pandemic situation and assure all safety measures, while at the same time offering the possibility to more European professionals to participate in our event,, with the teams working together to develop their projects in a virtual space. During the hack days, from 28 to 31 May, participants also received online mentoring sessions to help them hone their ideas, which were judged by a panel of experts and academics.
The jury was composed of Edwin Heesakkers, Managing Director of Innovation Hub West at EIT Urban Mobility, Astrid Zwegers, Smart and Green Mobility Coordinator of the City of Eindhoven, Dr. Nina Nesterova, Lead of the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Expertise Group at Breda University of Applied Sciences and Dr. Laia Pagès, Executive and Scientific Manager at CARNET.
The final candidates presented their solutions during the Dutch Technology Week, the tech event of the Netherlands, and the winning team for each challenge were announced by the alderman of Mobility and Transport of the City of Eindhoven, Monique List-de Ross, on 2 June. Along with the cash prizes the winners will also get the opportunity to present their solutions during the Smart City Expo World Congress 2021.
The winning teams for the proposed challenges are:
Winning team – Challenge 1 – School zones and traffic safety
Team Street Musketeers (Drashti Patel, Thomas Frances, Giliam van Gurp)
Solution: The creation of shared “Cool Spots” where parents can safely send their children to an area in their neighborhood – chosen by the kids themselves. From these spots, kids can walk together to their school with the supervision of one parent. These spots also connect children, as children are enabled to design the ”Cool Spots” themselves and the games in and around them. That way, children can always go to the cool spots to meet up with the other kids. Through this shared space children can choose and design together, they will be freed from the need of a smartphone to play. Instead, they can safely play with each other at the cool spot. Parents could use the time saved from bringing their kids to school every morning to spend quality time with the kids.
Winning team – Challenge 2 – Proud to travel to campus, together
Team PSV Bethoovens (Simón Portela, Juan Abia, Adrián Bolaño and Mateo González)
Solution: Firstly, the group clusters the people in order to manage small groups of people that live close by, so the bus has to do less stops than a regular bus and people do not have to walk long distance to take it. With this solution the group wants to reduce not only the travel time, but also to make it more comfortable for the users. With an algorithm, they can create and optimize the bus routes and update them every day with an app where the users can indicate if they are going to use the bus or not. Also, in this app they will be notified about the arrival of the bus in real time. The same app is able to collect user experiences, and give them some kind of rewards (discounts for coffee shops, e-bike rental, etc.) in order to stimulate them to answer the form collecting their experiences. With the data collected from the form added to the data of the total distance, travel time and walk distance to the bus stop, the team can progressively improve the methods and the algorithm for calculating the routes and bus stop locations.
Winning team – Challenge 3 – Make the city healthy
Team Greenhoven (Rosi Halevacheva, Ilyas Ustun and Federico Navarrete)
Solution: The goal of this project is to increase the awareness around one of the aspects contributing to air pollution: electricity usage. Electricity is generated mostly by power plants that run on fossil fuels and result in a lot of air pollution. From one side, this project proposes the creation of billboards with color coding, which will be used to showcase the different levels of pollution in the city. From another side, an app is proposed for the citizens of Eindhoven to track their electricity usage with the goal of reducing it. There will be incentives offered to those who are able to decrease their usage.
During 2021, two more Citythons will be organized across Europe. The first, in July, will be hosted in Bilbao and Barcelona. The second one will be hosted in autumn by the cities of Hamburg and Lublin. Both events will be dedicated to find innovative ideas and solutions to the mobility challenges that cities are facing in order to become more sustainable, more silent, and less polluted while improving urban access and quality of life.