Imagine a day where taking a bus is a hassle-free experience. Routes and schedules are at your fingertips on your phones. Waiting times are shorter, and you know exactly how long you must wait for the next bus. Planning your trip requires no guesswork. Commuting is no longer a pain but something you look forward to.
We’re one step closer to that day as we successfully wrap up Stage 2 of the Transport4All Challenge and head into Stage 3.
Digital innovations can transform our public transport systems by equipping passengers with the right information, providing them with avenues to raise concerns, and, most importantly, getting passengers wherever they want on time, comfortably and safely. In April 2021, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the Smart Cities mission launched the #Transport 4All🚍Challenge to bring together cities, startups, and citizens to develop digital solutions to transform public transport systems across the country.
Stage 2 wrapped with the announcement of the top 10 winning startups who work with cities across the country to test out solutions developed by them to address eight problem statements developed by the cities in Stage 1.
To recap, the Transport4All Challenge was envisioned in three stages.
In Stage 1, we saw 46 cities conduct the country’s largest public transport data exercise with surveys with more than 2 lakh citizens, 15,000 bus drivers and conductors, and 22,000 informal public transport drivers. Based on the survey findings, cities developed more than 165 problem statements, which were then curated into 8 problem statements by the Challenge team, marking the end of Stage 1 in October 2022.
These 46 champion cities qualified for stage 2 of the challenge.
In Stage 2—the Solution Generation stage—these cities worked with 70 startup applications shortlisted from over 160 applications. The goal was to create innovative and impactful digital solutions that could address the eight problem statements identified through the Stage 1 surveys.
Over the course of Stage 2, the Challenge team conducted 10+ workshops, 45+ one-on-one mentoring sessions, and 400+ calls to the startups and cities to support them in developing their solutions. The shortlisted startups proposed 45 solutions for the eight problem statements identified by the cities.
Of these, the top 24 startups were selected by a panel of eminent experts.
The 24 selected startups showcased their solutions to the 46 champion cities during the ‘Technological Solution Showcase’ held in August 2023. Based on the combined evaluation of the jury and the cities, the top 10 startups were declared winners of Stage 2.
What’s next: Full speed ahead into Stage 3
In Stage 3—the Pilot Testing stage—the top 10 startups will engage with cities to pilot and refine the proposals based on citizen feedback. The Challenge team and mentors will guide the startups through this phase. The winning startups will also receive a reward of up to ₹20 lakhs based on the problem statement for completing various milestones in Stage 3 of the challenge.
After three months of piloting, startups and cities will present the pilot results to the jury of experts for evaluation. MoHUA will showcase the successful startups and their solutions on the City Innovation Exchange (CiX) platform to enable cities to procure their product/services.
We applaud the leadership of the Ministry of Housing and Affairs Smart Cities Mission and Urban Transport and the Association for State Road Transport Undertakings (ASRTU)—hosts for the Transport4All Digital Innovation Challenge. We thank our knowledge partner, the World Bank, for bringing their global technical expertise to digital innovation and guiding startups and cities. We also thank the technology platform partners—Cix and Startup India—for engaging with startups and providing a platform for cities and startups to collaborate efficiently.
We look forward to working with the selected startups and cities to scale up the transformation of public transport systems across the country!