Kiwis step up to the challenge for innovative transport solutions
Kiwis up and down the country have stepped up to the Government’s call for innovative solutions to the country’s transport challenges, highlighting the strength of kiwi ingenuity, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced.
“The Government is upgrading New Zealand’s transport system to make it safer, greener, and more efficient for now and future generations to come. However we know we can’t solve some the challenges we face alone, that’s why we went looking for kiwi ingenuity to help find solutions to some of our global transport challenges,” Michael Wood said.
Waka Kotahi received more than 110 applications for the initial round of funding for the $15 million innovation fund Hoe ki angitū, launched in June 2022 to help accelerate the development of solutions to challenges facing the land transport system.
After a thorough evaluation process, 24 applications have been approved to receive a total of $4.2 million in the first funding round, which asked applicants to respond to three key challenges:
- accelerating the use of recycled materials and sustainable practices
- integrating low emission first and last-mile travel solutions
- providing under-served communities with greater access to transport options.
“New Zealand is a country full of creative, innovative people and to help us successfully meet the problems facing the transport sector we need to tap into that creativity by jointly accelerating solutions,” Michael Wood said.
“Kiwi innovators from the private sector, research institutions, communities, iwi and universities have stepped up to these challenges, with an exciting range of new ideas. Successful applications include the use recycled textile fibres in different types of asphalt, the pilot of a small micromobility hub at Auckland’s Panmure Station with a network of mini hubs in the surrounding neighbourhood, and a ‘lease to buy’ e-bike trial, offering low-cost e-bikes or e-bike conversions to people who are underserved.
“The fund is part of the Government’s comprehensive approach to responding to the climate emergency. Innovation is one of the pillars of our Emissions Reduction Plan to drive forward new and quicker ways to respond to the challenges we are facing in the land transport sector.
“Looking at the quality of applications approved for funding gives me confidence that by working together and being open to new ideas Aotearoa can rise to the challenge of addressing even our biggest transport challenges, to deliver a better-connected, cleaner, and safer transport system for New Zealand,” Michael Wood said.
In addition to the financial support being provided through Hoe ki angitū, the successful applicants will also be supported by Waka Kotahi with access to data, transport expertise, help to navigate land transport regulation, and support with real-world testing of solutions.
Funding approved in the initial application round of three transport challenges includes:
- Accelerating the use of recycled materials and sustainable practices
- $141,000 to develop a sustainable process using solvents for the recycling of chipseal, in which the bitumen and aggregate are separated and can be re-used in road surfacing
- $182,000 for a trial to determine the feasibility of using recycled textile fibres in different types of asphalt
- $240,000 to design, test and trial, high-performing, low carbon concrete mixes
- Providing under-served communities with greater access to transport options
- $206,000 for a ‘lease to buy’ e-bike trial, offering low-cost e-bikes or e-bike conversions to people who are underserved on a ‘lease to buy’ scheme, with affordable low-interest repayments
- $100,000 for a community-driven accessible transport trial in Eastern Bay of Plenty, to support seniors/pākeke, as well as people with disabilities, by increasing access to shared transport options in their local community
- $60,000 for an e-bike incentivisation test and trial in Māngere
- Integrating low emission first and last-mile travel solutions
- $508,000 to pilot a small micromobility hub at Auckland’s Panmure Station and a network of mini hubs in the surrounding neighbourhood. The hub will include e-scooters and e-bikes, secured bike parking with power outlets for charging and high-visibility wayfinding to enhance accessibility
- $156,000 for the development of a ‘total cost of journey’ calculator, to build and prototype a logic-based system that presents people with information about their travel choices comparing the costs and environmental impacts of private vehicle vs public transport use.
- $41,000 for a trial of e-scooter rental and recharging on electric buses – providing e-scooters for rental by coach passengers and the conversion of existing zero-emissions commuting coaches to include e- scooter charging capability as a first and last mile zero- emissions solution.
A full list of successful applications can be found on the https://www.nzta.govt.nz/about-us/innovations/innovation-fund/
A second round of challenges will be announced in November 2022 and those interested are invited to find out more at https://www.nzta.govt.nz/about-us/innovations/innovation-fund/challenges/.