Passenger Rail

Innovation challenge invites community to shape Melbourne transport future

Melbourne tram. Photo State Government Victoria

Public Transport Victoria has joined Resilient Melbourne in an effort to address transport congestion in the city.

The Citymart Open Innovation Challenge seeks engagement from individuals and groups from across the community, and invites all interested parties to submit plans and “creative, feasible and impactful ideas” to combat what Resilient Melbourne considers the interconnected problems of transport congestion, long travel times, overcrowding, and social disconnection.

Coming under the auspices of the City of Melbourne and councils in the greater Melbourne area, the Resilient Melbourne project forms part of a global “100 Resilience Cities” initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, the declared aim of which is to help cities around the world “prepare to meet the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century”.

Citing research by the Grattan Institute, Resilient Melbourne states that the long-term social impacts of travel disruption can include stress, loneliness, alcoholism, and family violence.

The Bureau of Transport Economics, moreover, estimates costs of $2.7 billion per year due to additional travel time and resource use in the greater Melbourne area — costs which are estimated to hit $9 billion per annum by 2031.

In opening up the space for community contributions, the stated goal of the challenge is to identify and implement initiatives that help reduce transport congestion and make travel more “socially fulfilling” in a time of accelerating social and technological change.

It forms a key part of the larger Resilient Melbourne strategy which was endorsed by the City of Melbourne’s Future Melbourne Committee in May last year.

The stated long-term goal of this broader strategy, as presented by the initiative’s website, is to present a “new way to address the chronic stresses and acute shocks we are likely to experience, and to achieve our vision of a city that is viable, sustainable, liveable and prosperous, today and long into the future”.

The Citymart Open Innovation Challenge seeks to engage with ideas that are relevant to local government solutions and can fit into Melbourne’s existing structure and governance without requiring large infrastructure procurement.

Entries to the challenge will be assessed by a panel of of industry, government and academic leaders, who will select the winning plan and help turn the idea into reality.

Public Transport Victoria CEO Jeroen Weimar sees the challenge as an opportunity to engage with the initiative and ideas from within the community.

“I’d encourage people from all parts of our community to take this opportunity to think about how we can draw on the strengths of our diverse communities and geographies to make a stronger, better transport system,” Weimar said.

“Part of that is finding ways to make our transport system smarter and more accessible for people who use it every day.”

Entries for the challenge are now open and will close on 23 June 2017.