What is an Innovation Challenge?
At Transport for NSW (TfNSW) we use innovation challenges as an efficient way to develop and deliver products and solutions that improve the customer's transport experience across Sydney and NSW. The Open Data and Innovation (ODI) team runs innovation challenges periodically to seek out those best ideas from industry players to bring better outcomes for customers. Innovation challenges are run when TfNSW has a good understanding of the potential solution or product which will solve a problem, and where we want to work with the startup community to develop a solution.
How Do Our Innovation Challenges Work?
The ODI team runs innovation challenges with a variety of focuses based on different business needs within the Transport for NSW cluster. It enables a path for developers to have their products officially endorsed by TfNSW. Innovators, entrepreneurs, and the developer community are encouraged to participate in the challenges to address the problem statement(s) with their proposed ideas and solutions.
Innovation Challenge Case Studies
Learner Driver Log Book Innovation Challenge
The current paper learner driver log book requires onerous, manual recording of repetitive information by the learner and supervising drivers. It also requires significant manual checking and auditing by Roads and Maritime or Service NSW staff when submitted to ensure all requirements are met. In 2017, Transport for NSW (TfNSW) invited talented creatives, developers and entrepreneurs to create a digital alternative to the current printed log book for learner drivers in New South Wales.
Concepts submitted had to ensure protection or enhance driver safety, deliver a seamless customer-centric experience and work with government systems. You can read more about this innovation challenge on the Learner Driver Log Book Challenge page.
After a competitive pitch day, three apps who addressed all challenge statements and customer problems were taken forward to enter the incubation process. Successfully completing the incubation period, all three apps were endorsed by TfNSW and were launch ready!
These apps provide a complete digital experience for learners and instructors to log their hours without a paper based log book, as well as submit their hours to Service NSW. Solutions are: Licence Ready, L2P and Roundtrip.
Clearways Innovation Challenge
Part of a wider strategy for reducing congestion on our roads, TfNSW focused on road clearways for this challenge. Looking for an innovative digital solution to help keep our clearways clear and traffic moving, we opened this challenge and asked app developers to address the following problem statements:
- How can we improve driver’s awareness of clearway restrictions?
- How can we improve how the TMC is notified of stationary vehicles in clearways, transit lanes or bus lanes?
- How can we advise a driver the location of their towed vehicle?
You can read our challenge statements in more detail and learn more about this innovation challenge on the Clearways Innovation Challenge page.
Clearway Tech was selected as the best product to tackle our Clearways problem. The product automatically detects stationary vehicles in clearways, and notifies the Transport Management Centre (TMC) using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms. This would reduce detection time, enabling the TMC to dispatch and clear the obstruction without waiting for a human-based report.
An interim report was produced by Clearway Tech in February 2020, with recommendations about data requirements for the possible trial and implementation of this solution in the future.
The App Developer Program
Solutions that successfully pass incubation with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) become part of the TfNSW Endorsed App Program. The App Developer Program provides support to TfNSW endorsed app developers. Endorsed apps have come through innovation challenges held by TfNSW and are managed by the Open Data and Innovation (ODI) team. Innovation challenges are held throughout the year, with various focuses to meet TfNSW’s overall strategy and to solve real transport problems. TfNSW’s endorsed apps are showcased here: https://opendata.transport.nsw.gov.au/transport-nsw-endorsed-apps.