February 20, 2019
Calling cities buzzing is a cliché for a reason. But it’s hard not to make the comparison. Not only is our fast-paced and somewhat chaotic way of interacting within the urban space undeniably swarm-like, but our cities are also, just like beehives, dependent on well-thought-out systems.
As urbanisation has progressed so have our ways to travel. But even though our means of transportation have come a long way since the horse-drawn railway in 1806, there are still progresses to be made. One of the most pressing issues is accessible transportation for everyone. All city people rely on high functioning and extensive transportation system to take them through the space they call home. But as anyone who’s ever been faced with an injury, a disability or pushed a stroller around would know - it’s not always easy.
For our upcoming BETAPITCH Challenge, we are specifically looking for startups that can help our infrastructure partners (BVG, DB, VBB & ViP) take accessible transportation in Berlin to the next level. To put you in the right mood, here are some examples of what’s going on within this area right now. However, if you’re not already excited maybe you’re not paying attention.
At the forefront of pushing accessibility projects forward is our main partner for this BETAPITCH Challenge: Toyota Mobility Foundation. Their strategy is built on partnering with local experts and organisations across the globe to envision and realise solutions to mobility challenges in that specific area.
One of those projects is the development of new transportation solutions for seniors in rural Japan, where mobility options such as ultra-small electric vehicles, ride-sharing, and on-demand transportation are being tested within the community.
When thinking of accessibility issues, it’s easy to forget none-physical disabilities. EMT, Madrid’s public bus company, was picked by the UN in 2016 as a good example of accessible urban development, because of their work of making it easier for people with sensory impairments travel. Their solution is visual and acoustic information at stations and on busses that can be activated via the passenger's phone.
As the mission of this BETAPITCH Challenge is to change the way Berlin moves, we should take a look at our home-city as well. With over 50 stations still missing elevators, it’s safe to say that Germany’s capital is far from 100% accessibility. But what the city lacks in elevators it makes up for with an entrepreneurial mindset.
Are you ready to make Berlin a more accessible place? Our infrastructure partners are - all they need is your innovative mind. Apply now, for the chance to pitch directly to the biggest transportation companies in and around Berlin - BVG, DB, VBB & ViP.
Applications close on March 11th. For more information on the competition, our partners and the prizes head over here.