Transport Hack


How might we reduce congestion in Cambridge City centre, reducing negative economic and health impacts


100+ student hackers 60+ mentors


Alessandra Gorini – Founder and Executive Director, Y4PT

Tim Murdoch – Cambridge Consultants

Paul Hughes – Allia

Peter Dawe – Cambridge & Peterborough Mayoral candidate


Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge University



Eight hacking teams came up with brilliant new ideas and technologies.  The winners, team Ditch went on to win the Y4PT international hackathon in Montreal.

The winning team:

Team Ditch  – an app which encourages non-car transport through gamification, for children and their parents to compete against each other for points. Point attribution can incentivise healthy choices such as walking and cycling. Promotes conversations and agreement between parents and children over safe and healthy transport choices and routes. Additionally gives the potential for parents to assess and agree with their children their allowed level of independence when travelling (possibly through tests to move from one level to the next), and the possibility of tracking over pre-agreed routes such as journey to and from school.

The joint runners up:

Team Cluster – An app to bridge the gap between buses and taxis (“Uber for buses”): larger minibuses which intelligently plan routes by identifying clusters of pick-up and drop-off locations, using machine learning to build up a picture of the most required routes where the biggest impact could be most quickly effected.

Team Hyper Traffic Mates – An app which promotes ride-sharing by employees of companies working in similar places by providing minibus services with variable pick up and drop off times, with multiple routes according to size of company and demand. Employees benefit from reliable and faster transport than currently possible from existing bus services, and employers need to provide reduced parking spaces, generating savings which can be invested in the service.

Other ideas (in alphabetical order!):

Team Infinity – An app which shows bicycle parking spaces in real time, using internet-connected sensors to encourage more cyclists to take to the streets, and offers a degree of bike monitoring at parking locations to help deter bike theft and offer proof of theft to cyclists.

Team Park and… – Co working spaces located at park and ride car parks to stagger traffic flow into city centres. Targeted at employers to allow their employees to use hot desks at the P&R before heading into the office slightly later, adding to productivity and saving lost transport time.

Team 2 – An app which rewards users for taking decisions about mode of transport which will reduce congestion. When using the app for route planning, the app will suggest both route and mode, and offer incentives in the form of coupons, both travel-related (parking, bus fares) and otherwise (money off coupons from local shops), if a congestion-reducing alternative is chosen.

Team Thetis – Smart counting of passenger occupancy on buses using AI for traveller recognition. The number of passengers on each bus, together with their start and finish locations (not currently collected), can be recorded in real time to allow better route planning and route frequencies. Cheap to implement since buses are already equipped with cameras which can easily be cloud-enabled, and the data collected would be anonymised so there is no civil liberties issue.

Team Victores – Smart parking for cars. Reduce congestion caused by cars cruising/circling to find a spot (estimated to cause up to 30% of congestion), by making real time on-street parking occupancy levels available via an app. Also has the possibility to enable parking operators to implement demand-based pricing and for councils to influence route decisions made by drivers, and achieve significant air quality improvements. Longer term aim would be to enable pre-booking and increase enforcement revenues.