A full day thinking about mobility solutions. This was the challenge launched to 144 participants, distributed by 33 teams, during the sixth edition of Hackacity, which took place this Friday at the Tram Museum. In the end, the city won, with innovative proposals that can pass from the computer to the daily reality of those who circulate around the city.
From the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) came Francisca Almeida, Eduardo Correia and Francisco Campos. All it took was an email from the higher education institution where they study to arouse their interest in the initiative. "An opportunity to contribute a little to our city and learn a little more about this area", underlines the young student.
Given the theme proposed to all teams – solutions for mobility and sustainability –, they presented a project aimed at reducing carbon emissions in private transport. How? "Invest in the use of the metro, creating parking lots on the outskirts", adds Francisca Almeida.
"We spent a different afternoon"
The teams are made up of higher education students, but also from companies. This was the case of Pedro Trigo, Pedro Veiga and Francisco Capa, from Cocus Portugal. It develops innovative information technology solutions. "It is an opportunity to be able to help the city to solve some problems, namely environmental", stresses Pedro Trigo, while also recognizing that the useful is joined to the pleasant: "We spent a different afternoon, also acquiring new knowledge".
In terms of design, the team came up with an idea for scooter mobility. Since 2020, the city has had a Smooth Mode of Transportation Sharing Service. 200 sharing points have been created, with a capacity of around 2700 electric scooters and e-bikes. The Cocus Portugal team had the idea of moving the collection points from fixed to mobile.
“There are areas of the city that don't have pickup points yet. With this solution, users can plan their trips from anywhere in advance. We can move a pickup spot closer to people. It is a solution for people's well-being and the environment", says Pedro Trigo.
"Brilliant minds" help
Hackacity is an initiative of the Porto City Council, coordinated by Porto Digital, through the Porto Innovation Hub, and counts on Ripply as a strategic partner. Created in 2016, the city's hackathon features technology, innovation, and data enthusiasts who, for one day, are fully dedicated to solving the city's urban challenges.
"We give data so that people can help us work on the challenges that are posed to us daily", says the vice president, during a visit to the event.
Filipe Araújo guarantees that from the "brilliant minds" many ideas are used. "Everything that is developed here helps us. We obtain information and data work and try to use it on a daily basis", emphasizes the councillor for Innovation and Digital Transition.
In addition to the participants being able to analyse and improve the data made available on the Open Data Portal, this initiative also allows for an interesting "networking" between peers and with specialized data mentors, without forgetting the creation of a positive impact on the community.
Largest participation ever
This year, Hackacity had the largest participation ever. For 12 hours, 33 teams were challenged to find solutions to one of the city's most pressing missions: achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
In the end, the city won with ideas for mobility and sustainability. For the purposes of the event's history, here are the winners of the 2023 edition: Hackitects (building a model to improve roadblocks), Critical Data (improving mobility KPIs and simulating traffic flow through a holistic approach) and Data Contact (sharing rides from convenient meeting points).
The Data Quality award went to the Data Pack team (solution nicknamed "GreenGoFlow.ai!" and aims to help organize events in Porto to improve air quality by reducing particulate matter and CO2 emissions, which naturally occur on a major event).