Hackathon to tackle disruption to public transport services


The NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport are calling for volunteers to take part in a hackathon using the potential of technology to respond to public transport disruptions.

It will be the Transport Agency’s fourth hackathon, but the first in collaboration with Auckland Transport. A hackathon is a 48-hour digital innovation event where people with diverse backgrounds and skills come together to brainstorm and collectively develop technology solutions. 

The hackathon, with a “Green Light” theme, will be held in Auckland over the weekend of 15-17 November and participants will be challenged to reimagine the public transport experience in the face of planned and unplanned disruption.  

The Transport Agency’s Chief Information Officer, Derek Lyons says they’ll be looking for real world customer-centric responses to situations that can affect anyone at any time. 

“It could be our daily commute to work, school or a sporting event that’s affected. It could be bad weather, a breakdown or a crash on the network that’s disrupting our journey. Whatever the cause, we still need to get where we want to go.” 

“Over 48 hours, we’re looking for 120 problem solvers, creatives, developers, analysts, behavioural experts, designers and people who want to make a difference to come together to generate new ways of improving the public transport experience.” 

“We’ll invite our volunteers to pitch their ideas and form teams. We’ll provide the latest technology, insights and data so people can connect, collaborate, create, prototype, and test their way to new technology solutions.” 

Chris Creighton, Auckland Transport’s Group Manager of Digital and Technology Delivery says AT is excited to be collaborating on this hackathon. 

“In the past year, 101 million trips were made on Auckland’s public transport network, and that will continue to grow. Disruptions to buses, trains and ferries still catch us by surprise, and can leave us stranded, frustrated, and disconnected.” 

Mr Creighton says hackathons have proven to be an effective tool for public engagement on transport issues, growing a deeper level of understanding of the complexity of these areas. 

“We’re looking for fresh, creative customer-centric thinking. It’s a very powerful and exciting experience to bring together people from diverse backgrounds to explore and co-design the future of transport.”  

Concepts developed at previous hackathons have progressed into their own start-ups, collaborations with the Transport Agency, and one winning concept was sold by the team to a third party that will pilot and execute the solution in the parking industry.

Previous hackathons have been over-subscribed, so volunteers will have to be quick as registration is now open. 

For more on the Green Light hackathon or to register, go to https://nzta.govt.nz/green-light(external link)