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Can you create a digital product that is designed to increase the adoption of carpooling?

Transport for NSW (TfNSW) launched the Carpooling Innovation Challenge in 2017. The challenge aimed to seek and promote an intuitive, user-friendly app designed to increase the use of carpooling across Sydney and NSW. TfNSW is committed to promoting a range of sustainable transport options to residents, businesses and visitors of Sydney and regional NSW.

Carpooling services can be made available via a smartphone mobile application (app). This can be an integral component of a sustainable transport network and will play an increasingly important role as this industry further develops and expands its provision across Sydney and NSW. Carpooling meets TfNSW strategic objectives by supporting travel behaviour change.

What is carpooling?

Carpooling is two or more people agreeing to travel by private car together, to the same destination, a destination along the route or within the vicinity of the driver’s destination. Carpooling is commonly used for journey to work trips, but can be used for any trip purpose.

Carpooling is a non-commercial operation with no element of service charge however the direct operating costs (usually including petrol, parking and tolls) can be shared.

Carpool services can be open to the public and/or restricted to selected user groups e.g. a single employer. Carpooling is more successful when the driver and passenger have a level of familiarity, for example the same employer, as this provides users with increased comfort and perception of personal security.

About the challenge

The aim of the challenge was to prompt innovative thinking around digital products that could provide customers with an easy way to carpool and encourage changes in travel behaviour.

The following features were considered as part of the challenge:

  • Registration
    • Secure access and protection of personal data
  • Tips on carpooling and etiquette
  • Arranging a carpool
    • Search for simple matches with basic information maintaining privacy
    • Route Matching
      • Live search to seek immediate carpool
      • Suggest pick-up/drop-off locations
      • Show route on map platform
      • Offer/seek matches on social media
      • Filters and sorting of matches (i.e. change time of pick up, location of pick up, route, toll, payment etc.) between drivers and passengers securely to maintain privacy until agreement on car pool reached
  • Organisations to set up carpools for drivers and passengers to book (optional)
  • Undertaking a carpool
    • Send reminders or messages with confirmations for driver and passenger
    • See driver/passenger on map within a set distance/time of proximity (e.g. 1km/10mins away) to provide reassurance on arrival
    • Tag on/off trip and for others to track drivers’/passengers’ location depending on security level for personal safety
    • Provide route suggestions to driver on real-time traffic conditions to alter route to reduce journey time etc (optional)
    • Include cashless payment system (optional)
  • Post trip
    • Ability to provide feedback on driver/passenger
Why get involved?

Challenge winners will receive endorsement as a TfNSW preferred product. Further endorsement may include:

  • Incubation support to get your product live
  • Inclusion in media activities such as press releases, social media campaigns and promotion on, Open Data Hub and Developer Portal webpages
  • Ongoing support and partnership with transport agencies


How the challenge worked

Applications needed to be submitted by Monday 10 July 2017 with details about the idea or product.

  • There are a series of questions in the form linked to the TfNSW judging criteria.
  • Successful applicants (finalists) were invited to pitch their ideas to a judging panel.
  • Winner/s products will then be launched and be endorsed by TfNSW.


Past Key Dates
Applications open – Monday 26 June 2017
Applications close – Monday 10 July 2017 at 5pm
Finalists advised – Friday 14 July 2017
Pitch day – Wednesday 2 August 2017