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7 tech startups to help cities improve public transport under Transport4All challenge

Sep 01, 2023 03:35 PM IST

The challenge aims to bring together cities, citizen groups, and startups to develop solutions that improve public transport to better serve the needs of all citizens

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) on Friday announced the names of seven startups that were selected after two stages of scrutiny for the Transport4All Challenge that was launched on April 15, 2021.

For representational purposes only. (Ravindra Joshi/ HT Photo)
For representational purposes only. (Ravindra Joshi/ HT Photo)

The winning startups include Amiraj Vahan that will work on route rationalisation, network digitisation and bus maintenance scheduling, while Anamar Technologies will work on network digitisation and passenger information and ticketing. Other winners include Innoctive Technologies (bus and staff scheduling), Vrishchik Technologies (transit performance monitoring), Aloha Tech Ventures (passenger information and ticketing), Zooper Technologies (grievance redressal) and Qed Analyticals (bus maintenance scheduling).

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The challenge aims to bring together cities, citizen groups, and startups to develop solutions that improve public transport to better serve the needs of all citizens. The ministry has selected 46 cities and 10 startups with innovative solutions to problems of public transport, focusing mainly on bus-based travel. Each startup will now select one of the 46 cities where they will launch a pilot of their solution with the help of the ministry, and ITDP and the World Bank as knowledge partners.

In the first stage, 130 cities with over 5,00,000 population participated in the challenge, with more than 200 registered NGO partners supporting these cities. By August 2021, 100 cities formed the Transport4All task force comprising of key officials from all departments working on transportation in the city, NGOs, academic institutes, and transport Unions to enable quick and efficient decision-making for the challenge.

“Further, 46 cities successfully completed 2.5 lakh surveys with citizens, bus drivers, conductors, and auto drivers to identify the key issues plaguing their cities, with the support of NGOs making it one of the biggest public transport data exercises in the country. The cities discussed the survey data with the Transport4All task force to draft the problem statements. Over 165 problem statements were identified, which were then curated into seven problem statements by the challenge team,” said a MoHUA statement.

In stage 2 of the challenge, over 70 startups submitted their product demos and demonstrated solutions for the seven problem statements identified by the cities. The solutions went through multiple rounds of rigorous mentorship and jury sessions. The team selected 24 startups that showcased their solutions to the 46 cities that successfully conducted the surveys. Based on the combined evaluation of the jurors and the cities, the top 10 startups have now been selected as winners.

“We realised that even when it comes to formal public transport, like the bus systems in our cities, there were many problems in operations that led to inefficient functioning of the systems. We realised that the cities need innovative technological boost that many brilliant startups within the country were ready to provide. These pilots will hopefully pave the way for world-class safe and reliable public transport options,” said Kunal Kumar, joint secretary and mission director, Smart Cities Mission, MoHUA.

The 46 winning cities that were announced in October last year include nine cities each from Karnataka and Maharashtra, four each from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and three from Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. The cities are Guntur, Kakinada, Tirupati, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Patna, Raipur, Surat, Rajkot, Karnal, Shimla, Dharamshala, Ranchi, Belagavi, Bengaluru, Devnagere, Gulbarga, Hubbali-Dharwad, Mangaluru, Mysore, Shivamogga, Tumakuru, Kochi, Thrissur, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Sagar, Satna, Akola, Aurangabad, Kalyan-Dombivali, Malegaon, Meera Bhayandar, Nashik, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Pune, Solapur, Bhubaneshwar, Amritsar, Ajmer, Jaipur, Kota, Udaipur, Salem, Bareilly and New Town Kolkata.

Officials said that the first edition of the challenge focuses on digital innovation. Cities and startups will receive guidance to develop and test various solutions, learn from them, and scale them to build people’s trust in public transport and enhance their mobility. The solutions will make public transport — formal as well as informal — safe, convenient, and affordable for all.

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