Traffic congestion is a worldwide headache that gets worse with each passing day. The Intelligent Transportation Society of America and its partners are seeking solutions to this problem, so they turned to VenCorps to apply the principles of Wikinomics.
VenCorps is an online community for discovering and cultivating the most creative solutions to a specific problem. It is the next evolution in collaborative innovation, where the community first helps to identify the best solutions and helps build out and cultivate those solutions. VenCorps connects entrepreneurs, investors and facilitators together in a community of shared interest. In short, VenCorps uses the wisdom of the crowds to attract, screen and cultivate the most innovative solutions.
Cash prizes are generally awarded to those people that are:
- Bringing an innovative technology to the market.
- 10x faster, smarter, better, cheaper, stronger, etc than current solutions.
- People with domain experience or a track record of success. We also realize the best solutions can come from first-time inventors too.
- Can reach millions in revenue within a few years of launch.
- Are solving a real problem with a big pain point.
- Are scalable, costing less per unit as the sales grow.
In the case of the Intelligent Transportation Society, the goal is to fund a company that can reduce environmental impact, strengthen economic productivity, move people more efficiently, or prevent accidents.
After the challenge was issued, 94 groups submitted solutions that were reviewed and voted on by a community of 4080 people. (I am familiar with several of the entries and have advised some, so I have recused myself from the selection process.) The nine best solutions were just announced, and will now undergo a much more intense round of scrutiny. The nine finalists can be seen here. With finalists coming from Hungary, Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States the origins of these solutions are as varied as their approach to make traffic history.
Here is a sampling of the finalists.
Intellione: The company uses mobile phone handsets to monitor traffic congestion. Users can see where traffic congestion is occurring in real time and know their travel time and make a choice to take an alternate route. This impacts transit and commuter travel and hence is an important tool in mitigating greenhouse emissions. The systems also helps governments to see how their roads are performing and address safety issues and plan where to make their capital infrastructure investments.
Skymeter: Since 1998 governments in Europe/Asia have cut congestion by charging for road use, a $2B/yr market in 2008. Now Request for Proposals ask for GPS tolling; integrators lack solutions that price reliably. Our Financial GPS system is the piece needed to win bids.
Avego: We want to build the automatic, intelligent, real-time infrastructure that makes it no-brainer-easy for travelers to share their empty seats, thereby unlocking the excess capacity already travelling and wasted on our ‘congested’ roads. We want to enables individual drivers to advertise their excess capacity and make it available to other travelers.
iCarpool.com: One Web site for all modes – Carpool, Vanpool, Transit, Bike, Walk. One site for all travel types – commute trips, events, long distance trips and real time trips (through mobile phones and SMS). One site which enables you to find matches within all your networks – your employer, your residential community, your friends, your soccer club and more.