Smart Communities Challenges

Smart Communities Challenges

Translink, Sound Transit, City of Richmond and Smart Kootenays are looking for solutions to improve mobility and safety for citizens through connected technology and data.

Innovation Marketplace

Smart Communities Challenges

Four distinct Smart Communities Challenges were presented by the Vancouver Economic Commission at the 2019 #BCTECHSummit that identified Translink, Sound Transit, City of Richmond and Smart Kootenays as companies looking for solutions to improve mobility and safety for citizens through connected technology and data. They shared insights into inter-connected systems in which vehicles, infrastructure, and mobile devices are enabled to exchange information in real-time with the goal of performing predictive analysis. Details of each Challenge are described as follows.

1. TranslinkStation Passenger Analytics TransLink has been rolling out technology to collect better data on passenger counts, including smartcard and open payment at station faregates and validators plus APC (Automated Passenger Counts) on buses. With these devices, we have richer data than we have had in the past; however, we lack detail within stations or exchanges on how the facilities are being used in real time. For example, how many use the stairs versus the escalators? How many people travel with bicycles or strollers? Where do people tend to queue on the platform? What are the preferred paths for customers transferring between buses? How do passenger flows change during the day or with changing conditions (e.g. weather)? TransLink would like to invite tech providers to pitch ideas on how to collect better real-time data on passenger movement in our facilities (and possibly elsewhere in the network), while protecting personally identifiable information. 

2. Sound Transit: Technology Advances in Wayfinding for the Deaf and Blind – Sound Transit plans, builds and operates express bus, light rail and commuter train services in the Greater Seattle Region. Sound Transit is seeking solutions to make the regional transit system more accessible for the deaf, blind and deaf-blind. Sound Transit is seeking new Accessible Wayfinding technologies and infrastructure that conveys a complex set of detailed information to users to inform them of how to use the system, how to navigate the station toward that use, and share information about system elements, access and status. We are in need of systems that can convey this information to users through technologies useful to people with diverse abilities and languages, and consistent with Universal Design principles. We seek your help in better serving our deaf, blind and deaf-blind customers through technological solutions that can increase their access to transit and improve their regional mobility. 

3. City of Richmond: Intelligent Operations Hub – Richmond is an island community, located 1 meter above sea level in the heart of the ecologically important Fraser Estuary. Half of the City contains parks, farmland and other green space – it is also a major transportation hub and home to the international airport, port facilities, and rail and highway links. Considering these factors, Richmond needs to continuously upgrade and future-proof its infrastructure to mitigate the effects of climate change, flooding, and isolation due to emergency events. Activation protocols that utilize technology for communication, decision making, and asset mobilization are currently in place however, such systems and protocols are not currently interconnected and integrated. Richmond is excited to participate in the Government of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge and engage technology, government and academic sectors to develop integrated service delivery platforms. 

The City of Richmond is looking to create the first Intelligent Operations Hub on the west coast that will provide enhanced communications with partner agencies, improving day-to-day service delivery to the community and increase Richmond’s resiliency to emergencies and climate change. It will have the ability to link to and be replicated by other cities across Canada. Data will be collected from existing and new sensors, and then analyzed and processed into consumable information that allows the City and partners to use it to make timely and effective decisions. Initial outcomes include early detection of flooding, detection of and response to hazardous spills in the river and decrease in traffic accidents considering weather and variable roadway speed. The City is looking for technologies and tools to implement this strategy, including, but not limited to: a personalized engagement platform, a public dashboard for community assets, a portal to connect business to emergency information, a smart alert system, and way-finding solutions. Richmond will release open data and open API where possible.  

4. Smart Kootenays:  Smart Kootenays Digital Mobility – As part of the BC Smart Cities pilot project, the Cities of Nelson, Castlegar, Trail and Rossland are working together to measurably improve travel decision-making in a mountainous rural region where it is difficult and sometimes unsafe to travel. We are looking to improve safety conditions by leveraging a Smart Kootenays Digital Mobility (SKDM) platform that will integrate real-time local data and predictive analytics to enable smart-safe-virtual travel both within and between our West Kootenay communities. The goal is to develop a platform that will not only consolidate available data on road conditions, accidents, etc. but will use sensors and GPS technology to enable our residents to more easily plan their travel. A local development team, including Selkirk College applied researchers, are working on a proof of concept that is hoped will expand to encompass the longer- term vision mapped out as part of the Federal Smart Cities Challenge. This vision extends to include an Uber-style ride-load-delivery share component, and social media integration to allow for ‘Plan B’ travel in cases of flight cancellations and road closures. We are looking for predictive analytics tools and enabling technologies to help build out the mobility platform and smart technology to analyze the needs and schedules of both drivers and ride-sharers in the region.   

The Smart Communities Challenge is no longer accepting applications.