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Bombardier announces winners of innovation contest on future of urban mobility

Bombardier announces winners of innovation contest on future of urban mobility

Rail technology leader Bombardier Transportation has announced the winners of its interactive YouCity innovation contest. The competition demonstrates what smart, interconnected urban mobility could look like in the future to move more people than ever before quickly and efficiently. By 2050, more than two out of every three people in the world are expected to be living in cities.

“Sustainability is central to our goal of providing market-leading mobility solutions today and in the future,” said Martin Ertl, Chief Innovation Officer for Bombardier Transportation. “Many of the 215 proposals we received since launching the YouCity contest in March this year are visionary ideas aimed at shaping the future of how we travel in and between cities. Alongside our proven products and technologies, some of these ideas could help to make public transport even more passenger-, operator- and eco-friendly.”

Bombardier invited candidates to develop their concepts in one of three workstreams: engineering (product definition, technical concept), business (business model, stakeholders, financing strategy) and urban planning (network layout, urbanism concepts, integration). To focus the contest, candidates tailored their proposals to one of three cities that represent the different markets for urban mobility around the world: London, UK (mature market), Belo Horizonte, Brazil (BRIC[1] market) and Vientiane, Laos (emerging market). A jury of experts at Bombardier evaluated the concepts, which were voted for by YouCity’s online community as well as on social media.

In the engineering workstream, the winning concept is the AutoShuttle rail transport for motorways in mature markets such as London. Individual transparent cabins would transport cars along motorway routes on dedicated Maglev (magnetic levitation) lanes at 180 km/h. Drivers would be able to choose at any time to take the next exit and join the conventional road network. The proposal is based on existing transport technologies and offers shorter door-to-door travelling times, higher levels of safety and lower emissions than conventional motorway travel.

The winning business concept is called Liquid Oyster and is based on London’s existing Oyster pay-as-you-go card. In a two-step approach, Liquid Oyster would start by automatically applying daily, weekly and monthly price caps when their cost is reached. Travellers would no longer have to choose to pay weekly or monthly travelcard prices instead of using daily pay-as-you-go. In the second phase, a continuous pricing scheme would limit the total of all fares paid over a 12 month period to the cost of an annual travel card. The proposal is based on the existing system and offers simpler and more flexible public transport pricing.


In urban planning, a proposal for different coloured zones identifying different parts of Vientiane won the contest. Travellers could more easily agree fares and vehicle sharing for taxis and tuk-tuks (motorized rickshaws) by using different colours to identify the different villages (administrative areas) that make up Vientiane. These vehicles are the main means of public transport in the city because they are quicker and more flexible than the public bus system.

Bombardier has invited the three winning teams to its head office in Berlin, Germany to collaborate on a final proposal for the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. They will present their joint proposal in Berlin at the world’s largest rail trade show, InnoTrans, on September 20, 2012.

The members of the jury that selected the winners were Professor Hubert Klumpner, Chair of Architecture and Urban Design at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zurich university; André Navarri, President and Chief Operating Officer, Bombardier Transportation; Josef Doppelbauer, Chief Technical Officer, Bombardier Transportation; Katrin Luger, Vice President Group Strategy, Bombardier Transportation, Sharon Christians, Vice President Group Communications and Public Affairs, Bombardier Transportation and Dagmar Blume, Senior Director Strategy and Sales Governance, Systems, Bombardier Transportation.