The theme was ‘reimagining how technology can create a more inclusive transport system’. Participants were asked to tackle barriers to access including age, licensing, affordability, geographic isolation and resilience, and disability.“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, age, physical accessibility, or other factors,” says the Transport Agency’s Director of Connected Journey Solutions, Martin McMullan.The overall winners were ParkRite who came up with a solution to stop the abuse of mobility parks by those who are not entitled to use them and to provide visibility of the availability of mobility parks across New Zealand.They created a blend of hardware and software using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags which are embedded in mobility parking permits with sensors to detect the presence of a vehicle in the park and to provide a visual cue as to whether that driver is legally parked.
If the vehicle is not entitled to be in the park a red light flashes, encouraging social accountability rather than enforcement. “It was a pleasure to observe the ParkRite team progress their initial concept from establishment to presentation. It’s a well-thought out solution that could have a real impact on the lives of New Zealanders holding mobility passes as well as their family and support people. We heard at the opening of the Hackathon from Gerry Pomerpy the extent of loss of confidence and isolation experienced from an inability to access fundamental services where these parks are often located” says the Transport Agency’s Strategic Advisor in the Chief Executive’s Office, Robyn Fisher.Second place was Raihana with a concept to bring learners license tests online to be more accessible to remote communities, and third place was Jaid, a voice activated service to help visually impaired New Zealanders get around on public transport.
The final pitches were judged by McMullan and Fisher from the Transport Agency, alongside Minnie Baragwanath, CEO and Founder of Be.Accessible, and Gael Surgenor, Director of Community and Social Innovation of The Southern Initiative at Auckland Council.
The teams will retain the intellectual property of their ideas, with the Transport Agency helping to progress the winning solution to the next stage of development in the interests of creating a more accessible transport system. The Transport Agency also reserves the right to work with any of the teams to help them develop their ideas to the next stage.
“We can help with resources and by introducing them to others in the innovation and technology communities. We may be able to offer financial support, research, or access to our expertise to help develop a prototype or take the idea to the next level,” says Mr McMullan.
“It is great to see this event continue to be so successful, with teams tackling real life problems and come up with such innovative solutions. We look forward to these events continuing in the future,” says Mr McMullan.