In February 2020, the Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF) launched the City Architecture for Tomorrow Challenge (CATCH). This is a global call for dynamic, intelligent, and data-driven solutions to improve transportation systems by addressing mobility and city planning challenges. The city used for this challenge is none other than our own capital, Kuala Lumpur. After evaluating all entries, TMF had announced two teams as joint winners of CATCH to receive a grant to further develop their concepts.
The CATCH programme saw 6 finalists develop and deliver Minimum Viable Products (MVP) successfully for Kuala Lumpur, despite the disruption caused by the pandemic. With support from strategic and data partners through the finalist stage, and mentorship from industry experts during the incubation workshop, finalists obtained meaningful local insights and feedback for finalising their solution development. The finalists were also able to install physical devices in Kuala Lumpur, develop data analytics platforms and dashboards, and conduct feasibility testing to showcase the data utilisation and leverage innovative technologies to improve the access to mobility in Kuala Lumpur. These MVPs were then presented at the final assessment to a panel of 8 judges from various fields.
After deliberation, the judges identified Numina (USA) and KERB (Australia) as the best suited solutions which matched the 5 assessment criteria of creativity, desirability, feasibility, sustainability and technicality. In addition to enhancing the quality of life for citizens in the city of Kuala Lumpur, these winning solutions also align with Toyota’s Mobility for All initiative. As such, Numina and KERB will receive a grant of US$250,000 each as financial support for their solution trial and implementation in Kuala Lumpur with the continuing collaboration from strategic and data partners.
Numina is based in New York, USA and has been serving planners and cities since 2014 for the purpose of empowering cities with data, to become more responsive and more equitable. Numina uses computer vision and Privacy by Design technology to measure how people and objects move in streets and public spaces, and delivers real-time insights from streets to make cities more responsive to human movement and needs. For this challenge, Numina deployed their sensors in traffic hotspots in Kuala Lumpur, allowing them to monitor and analyze people and object movement. The data can be delivered via self-serve web dashboard with a dynamic, query-able, privacy-first dataset of multimodal activity to Kuala Lumpur stakeholders for making data-driven decisions in terms of city planning and infrastructure improvement during the Winner Implementation Stage.
Tara Pham, CEO and Founder of Numina commented: “We are honored that the CATCH partners believe in the impact that Numina can have, by supporting pedestrian safety and turning Kuala Lumpur’s streets into a sandbox for mobility innovation.”
Meanwhile, KERB, an Australian company headquartered in Brisbane was founded in 2016 and operates in several countries. KERB is a global parking application which unlocks parking in the cities through its unique technology driven by the “KERB box”. It is a platform that automates car parking, and enables renting public / private spaces to customers who need parking space. KERB also has local operations and is increasing its presence in Kuala Lumpur. For this challenge, KERB deployed its technology to unlock parking spaces that are empty during office hours thereby increasing the number of parking options available, with zero infrastructure by providing one-touch booking and payment, “hands-free” car park access, and real-time of parking behavior data. Through the Winner implementation stage, KERB will increase parking supply around public transport hubs, expand networks, and strengthen the mobility system in improving accessibility in Kuala Lumpur.
“At Kerb, we passionately believe that the “mobility for all” solution developed with fresh and innovative approach for the city of Kuala Lumpur as part of Toyota Mobility Foundation’s ‘City Architecture for Tomorrow’ would serve as a model for any developed or developing city,” said Rob Brown, CEO and Co-Founder of KERB.
TMF will assist the winning teams on implementation of their solutions in Kuala Lumpur, together with support from strategic partners, including Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).
“Kuala Lumpur City Hall is fully supportive of CATCH as it is in line with our goals to make Kuala Lumpur an efficient and environmentally-friendly mobility city focusing on effective and varied mobility and transportation choices,” commented Datuk Seri Haji Mahadi bin Che Ngah, Mayor of Kuala Lumpur.
Meanwhile, Aiza Azreen Ahmad, Chief Digital Business Officer of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) said: “CATCH is testament of the effectiveness of data-driven solutions to empower Malaysia’s digital economy and drive innovations toward efficient, innovative and sustainable cities. This public-private initiative enables our data ecosystem to grow towards being 4IR-ready and globally competitive digital nation, in line with the goals of the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint and Malaysia 5.0.”
Pras Ganesh, Director of Programs of TMF commented: “The problem statement was challenging, focusing on data driven city planning and mobility improvements of Kuala Lumpur. Though all the Finalists are excellent, both the winning entries are worthy victors of CATCH. In line with Toyota Mobility Foundation’s Guiding Principles, they both offer high tech practical solutions that can deliver immediate benefits to Kuala Lumpur citizens and city planners. Furthermore, they also exhibit potential for future proofing mobility in any large city, and we are excited at the possibilities of our engagement going forward.”
Through CATCH, TMF hopes to utilise the insights gained through this challenge to solve mobility issues in other regions and countries in the future.