A 48-hour event to brainstorm solutions helping to resolve traffic issues in downtown Toronto, called the D[congestant] Hackathon, will be hosted by the South Core Innovation Hub from April 1st to 3rd, 2016, at at the new Cisco Innovation Centre.
“By using a policy and technology approach and working with the Mayor’s office as well as half a dozen public and private employers, [D]congestant will aim to reduce the countless productive hours lost to traffic every day,” write the event’s organizers.
PwC and Uber are both members of the South Core Innovation Hub, an organization that meets on a monthly basis to discuss issues relating to their location in Maple Leaf Square.
Panelist judges will include OMERS Ventures managing director Jim Orlando, head of City of Toronto Transportation and Urban Planning Stephen Buckley, and urban planning professor Dr. Raktim Mitra of Ryerson University.
The winning team stands to win a prize pack, which includes: $5,000 in cash, a chance to work with Cisco to continue developing your idea, the opportunity to pilot the winning idea in the real world, with the likes of PwC and the Mayor’s office, up to five round-trip Porter flight vouchers to any Porter-operated destination, five community memberships to the Centre for Social Innovation, and $100 Uber credits for each member.
There will also be a general prize draw for a Porter Escapes package, including round-trip airfare for two on Porter Airlines to Chicago and a two-night stay at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel.
Aside from PwC, Cisco and Uber, the event’s sponsors include Twitter, Google, Porter Airlines, the Centre for Social Innovation, Metrolinx, CBC Toronto, Detour Coffee Roasters and the City of Toronto.
The hackathon hopes to harness approximately 200 innovative brains to come up with ideas about how to ease traffic congestion in the area south of Union Station, where all that stands between downtown and the beautiful waterfront is a depressing and menacing ribbon of elevated freeway, with most drivers behaving as if locked inside a Mad Max film.
Pedestrians and cyclists take their lives in their hands any time they venture into that zone underneath the elevated expressway, with most motorists reacting to the presence of anything other than another car with surprise.
Montreal had the good sense, decades ago, to bury the similarly sprawling Highway 20, which carries traffic across the city, but underground, without impeding pedestrian access between downtown and the Old Port, as the Gardiner Expressway does.
Participants do have to be over the age of 18, but don’t necessarily have to be developers, designers or technology experts, just anyone with a good enough idea to ease the south downtown core’s traffic issues that can be feasibly implemented.
There is a token $11.20 registration fee that will be refunded for people who register and show up, which is only there to increase the commitment level from no-show registrants.
The event will begin at 6:00 p.m. on April 1 and run until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 3, at the Cisco Innovation Centre, 88 Queens Quay West 29th floor, Toronto.