How will the Innovation Challenge work?
Applications open on 20 May 2020. Any interested applicants will have the opportunity to ask questions to subject matter experts at an information session to help develop their submission. The online information session will be held on 20 May 2020 and will be recorded and published on the Parking Innovation Challenge page. Once the application period closes, the applications are assessed and up to ten teams will be shortlisted to progress to the next stage of the challenge. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to pitch their ideas to a judging panel. The judging panel will provide recommendations to the internal team for further assessment and review. Applicants selected for incubation will be advised in due course after the pitch day. One or more applicants may be selected to proceed to the incubation phase. Incubation does not guarantee endorsement.
Why is this challenge being run?
The focus of this challenge is to improve the customer experience when parking a vehicle where signage could be confusing or rules are unclear. Accurate customer information about parking can reduce congestion by reducing the amount of time a driver spends looking for a parking spot. Solutions should focus on delivering accurate, location-based, real-time information to customers at both the point of parking and whilst planning a trip. Solutions should include features for customer safety and convenience.
When does the product have to be launched?
Please note when entering the challenge, should you progress through to incubation, you must be able to produce a market-ready product by 30 September 2020.
When do applications open?
The Parking Innovation Challenge opens at noon, Wednesday 20 May 2020.
When do applications close?
Applications close at 11:59pm on 3 June 2020.
I have questions about the challenge. Who can I contact to ask more questions?
Come to the Information Session and ask any questions to the Open Data Team and subject matter experts (SMEs). You can also ask on the Open Data Forum - there is a thread dedicated to the Parking Innovation Challenge. https://opendataforum.transport.nsw.gov.au/ or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What criteria will the judging be based on?
The judging criteria are as follows:
- Customer Experience and Usability - is the solution appealing, effortless, intuitive and easy to use?
- Market Feasibility - How well do you understand the customer, what benefits will they derive from the solution and how likely are they to use it?
- Innovation - Is the product unique and original, and does it demonstrate tangible technical innovations?
- Commercial Sustainability - Can the idea sustain its commercial momentum? Is it likely to be profitable in the long term?
- Technical Feasibility - Can the team deliver the solution? Can they demonstrate an understanding of technical inputs to solution development and ensure ongoing technical stability?
Questions and Answers from the Community
What is the state of parking data in Waverley Council?
Waverley has gathered some data in general. This is something that has been happening for around 10 years. This is because of 3 factors – maintenance, accounting for assets, and financial reporting. The reason why we have counted all our parking times and have a proper understanding is because of those three aspects. The fact is that on our asset management plan, we have the idea of keeping track of all our accounts. Once changes are made, our data team updates that data. That’s what’s been happening and that’s how our parking data is available for everyone. We do know where our assets are, we have mapped them and shared them with TfNSW. Waverley Council is of the view of sharing data with the community to get better results for everyone.
What is the state of parking data in Willoughby Council?
We’ve just focused our attention on the Chatswood CBD and have got some support from a private sector company to do digital mapping of the parking restrictions in the CBD. It’s a tight geographical area, that is provided in an app and through our website. We’ve also provided that to TfNSW. There is no other data available for areas outside of the Chatswood CBD.
Will this be linked to the state government’s Park’N’Pay app?
The Park’N’Pay app is run by the NSW Department of Customer Service. The data from Transport for NSW Open Data will be ingested if appropriate into that app. For example occupancy data from TfNSW Opal Park&Ride Car Parks which has been published via Open Data is being ingested into the Park’N’Pay app. So if there’s any data to to be had, that is suitable, I’m sure that the Park’N’Pay app will be ingesting that.
Where can I access the data from the challenge?
http://opendata.transport.nsw.gov.au – do a search for parking. There is comprehensive Waverley shapefile data with further data from Willoughby Council to be released shortly. You can find links there too for parking data from the City of Sydney – they’ve also got a great data hub showing parking meters as well as rates and hours of operation. https://data.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/
Is there a process for approaching partners that might complement our skills?
In the past, we have held collaboration sessions for these kinds of events, however with the current environment it’s going to be a real challenge for us to do that. We haven’t planned anything along those lines for this challenge. We do encourage you to partner with others if you wish, but we do not have the ability to facilitate and in person networking gathering at this time, due to physical distancing restrictions.
Does the solution only need to consider on-street/kerbside parking or should it include off-street parking as well?
It doesn’t need to, but it can. You absolutely can check out the off-street parking data on our Open Data Hub. We provide a real-time API for Opal Park&Ride car parks. We also have static off-street parking data for the Sydney CBD. The data from Willoughby and Waverley is the first we have for on-street, so we really want to test that out as a focus for this challenge.
Is this challenge just focused on explaining parking regulations, or can it be a solution for providing real-time occupancy?
Initially, what we’re looking to do is feed the information for what is just represented on the street, but if you’re able to provide a real-time solution we’re more than happy to look at that too. One of the reasons we haven’t put that forward specifically is we do not have access to real-time location data. Please feel free to include that in your pitch.
Does this also include special events parking?
It could. Something we’re pursuing is getting more information about special event parking. Potentially yes.
Is the product for all of NSW or a particular area?
Ideally we’d like to see a solution that is scalable and can be rolled out throughout NSW. The reason we’ve focused on Waverley and Willoughby at this stage is they’re the two areas that we know we have high quality data that has been published on the open data hub. If you have the ability to provide a state-wide solution, that’s fantastic, but from our perspective part of the process is us getting our heads around the best way to do it and collectthe data.
Will there be a way that LGAs that have mapped kerbsides to incorporate that data into the solution via a two way API? We (Randwick) are about to map our kerbsides in a study area. Also to support special events, temporary regulation and work zones where Council can push out these to all providers.
Any data like that we would encourage the owners of that to get in touch with us via OpenDataProgram@transport.nsw.gov.au. You can also put a request in through the Open Data Hub as well.
Does the solution need to meet the two challenge statements?
Not necessarily – you can address either or both.
What happens to the IP which has been developed during the innovation challenge – is it for TfNSW?
With all third party products developed through Innovation Challenges, they are the IP of the original proponents. We will provide guidance and co-design feedback, but the IP is owned and run by you.
If linking to Park’N’Pay we would like an open API as we use PayStay which is a NSW Department of Customer Service platform.
We will contact our lovely friends over at NSW Department of Customer Service to request that it bemade open as an API, however at this time it is only available to Park’N’Pay.
Is there a guarantee of a contract with TfNSW if the successful organisation/consortium wins the innovation challenge?
No. As part of the submission, there is a question about how you’re going to make it commercially sustainable. If we are to be the customer, you need to make that very clear and that will be taken into account. With all our products, we’d prefer not to be the customer, because we don’t want your reliance on us. We want an innovative product that will support you commercially, as well as our needs and our customers’ needs, so it’s a win-win-win.
How would you see a solution developed through this challenge competing with or complementing Park’N’Pay? Would you expect users in NSW to have two parking information apps? From what I've heard, the ambition with Park’N’Pay is to provide parking information across NSW.
It’s not necessarily a competitor to Park’N’Pay, as they are seperateuse cases. If Park’N’Pay is going to provide all that data, we are wanting the data to go out as open data and Park’N’Pay can also facilitate that information. Our main objective is to provide a much better informational capability to customers. That’s the main objective. How do we do it? We have not figured that out - that’s why we’re having an innovation challenge.
Have you done any research about the users so far? If so, what have you found? Or, what would make the solution a success from the point of view of a user?
To the extent we’ve done research, we understand the user behaviour of drivers. The target market might be different for each different product and we’re open to hearing who that might be from you. We expect the organisation when they pitch to apply the judging criteria around market feasibility and do their own market feasibility research. We understand there may be multiple target markets – rideshare, taxi, private driver, freight, last mile delivery, waste management – there’s a range of different organisations and types of drivers out there. We haven’t covered all of that in our research, but we expect that to be well articulated in your submission.
Waverley specifically is a very busy urban centre and we know that traffic and parking are the most difficult things to deal with and what people really care about in our area. We’ve tried to come up with solutions for parking for residents, but then there is traffic as well. We have our residential parking permit scheme where we pretty much know how many spaces are on the street versus how many people have registered. A lot of these areas are pretty much full. Any solution that helps us organise parking will be welcome and we do know that while we don’t have as many cars as other areas of Sydney, we are having issues. In the future, after we come out of COVID-19 issues, is this going to get worse or will it get better?
Are there any particular example problems that the councils are wanting to fix (for users)? Eg: Saturdays in a particular area.
We suffer the same range of problems as any other council. I think most of the problems I explain are generic. There’s weekday congestion that will desirably be reduced by this parking app through at least reducing the circulation of traffic trying to find parking spaces, in our CBD we have an environment that changes over time. In the morning, there’s more journey to work activities, during the day its services and retail, and in the evening there’s cultural and recreational and food-based demands. On the weekends it’s the same sort of problems. I think the main one is we’re trying to support customers who wish to drive – we obviously promote active and public transport as other modes – but if people wish to drive then we want that to be as stress-free as possible.
From the Waverley side, on a Saturday in summer, we could receive 80,000 visitors. Even though Bondi Beach could be considered a commercial centre, we don’t have many parking buildings. The specific case for us would be that even though we don’t have real time (we don’t know when that would happen) it would be great for any solution to help us understand and foresee what’s going to happen. This is also about future planning and future-proofing.
Are there any existing solutions or inspiration in other jurisdictions in Australia and around the world that you like?
We have done a lot of research and have seen many organisations with great solutions, however we do not want to direct people to a particular solution. We want to actually take it back to fundamentals and give people a customer problem in that challenge statement, and we really want to hear new, fresh, innovative ideas rather than leading that and confining the thinking.
Whilst we know there are multiple products out there, one of the main focuses of this is to make it as frictionless and safe for the driver as possible. We want to minimise disruption and distraction to the driver as much as possible. Whether the passenger takes on the reading of the information, or if the onus is on the driver to pull over and read or digest some alert that pops up in real time, that would be a concern. If it’s information only, I look forward to something where the driver can pull over and access and read at their leisure.
Do you have a current register of the signage as it currently exists?
There will be data for both Waverley and Willoughby about parking signage in the Chatswood CBD area. This is the focus initially, and hopefully we can get more data from more councils to get a comprehensive look across NSW.
Is the June deadline / pitch need to involve a proof of concept implementation? Or more "business case-y"?
This is a pitch to help us understand what the solution would look like. The only thing we’re concerned about is whether that solution can be delivered by the release date. It doesn’t have to be built now, but you’ll have to give us confidence that you’ll be able to produce and release it to the public by that date.
Have customers indicated a willingness to pay for such apps? Or is this considered as a government funded service?
It’s an innovation challenge – part of the submission is you tell us the commercial model. There could be a willingness to pay, but that’s something you as a start-up would need to ascertain.
Is there an expectation that in-ground sensors will be used? As this is what most current participants in this market need for quality data.
What we want to do is try and achieve this in a purely digital or virtual manner. Yes, if part of your solution is to do that, you can pitch it, but the reality is that the focus is to not touch the physical infrastructure – not touching the signs or kerbside. The priority is on purely digital solutions.
Have the councils/TfNSW already tried anything for this problem. If so, what did you / didn’t you love about them?
No, we haven’t, which is why we are very keen to see your solutions.
Are there any restrictions on who can enter?
International participants are welcome to apply. Pitch Day will be via video conferencing so you can participate. If you are a TfNSW employee or associated with one of the councils too closely, we are unlikely to be able to do anything with you too closely. We would not be able to endorse the product or provide seed funding. Please reach out to our team if you wish to discuss that.
How many solutions will be accepted?
We haven’t determined that yet. We’re open to more than one, and are not going to put a particular restriction on that.
Does the solution need to connect to paid parking providers for e.g. Wilsons Parking if they have API?
We don’t have data for Wilson’s car parks, only Opal Park&Ride. If it’s possible to do and you have an innovative idea, throw it out to us. Feel free to add that, but we are trying to focus on street parking for this challenge. The majority of commercial car parks are generally off-street providers.
Are the councils looking at digital signage?
In the case of Waverley, no. We have some smart signs that tell you occupancy on the street, but we’re not looking for signs at the moment.
Does the challenge extend to the re-design of physical environment ie. Non app based digital solutions?
No it does not. It does go beyond app-based solutions absolutely but we’re focusing on digital solutions as opposed to infrastructure changes.
How can a road user depend on the legality of the information provided by the App/Service and how can the App Service protect itself from providing inaccurate information? ie if the App recommends parking somewhere currently a clearway
From an enforcement perspective, the aluminium signpost takes precedence. I assume there’d be clear terms and conditions outlining that it’s a guide only.
Can we strap on standalone devices to poles to gather additional data to power the solution?
We are not looking for anything in the physical environment, our focus is a digital solution.
How many applicants will be short listed to the pitch day?
There is no limit. We usually have up to 10, however if we have many great ideas we will listen to all of them.
Has there been any study into the distraction to drivers involved in looking at parking signs, and whether a simplified 'safe' application would be less likely to be dangerous?
I’m not aware of any research specifically around parking digital solutions, however there has been a lot of research done in general about driver distraction. We engaged an outside body to undertake further research on the HMI solution for us. If it is a solution where the user can read information while stopped, that is fine. If it is to be used in real-time, we would expect an absolute minimum amount of information to minimise distraction.
Are there TfNSW digital guidelines available for UX/UI usability?
There are guidelines around Digital NSW. There are those sorts of guidelines but we as TfNSW do not have anything in particular. Accessibility should be considered.
Would you be co-selling this app?
If it’s an endorsed product we market the product to some extent, but we don’t have any IP. No is the answer.
How is this supposed to reduce sign clutter?
It’s not going to reduce sign clutter. As part of the road rules you have to show a sign. There will be no changes to those laws.