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Toyota: Venice welcomes global innovators to advance low carbon transport as part of $9M Sustainable Cities Challenge

The City of Venice will host pioneering innovators from around the world to develop solutions that increase the use of low-and zero-carbon transport within the city

Venice has now kicked off its global call for innovators to put forward solutions that motivate people to increase the use of low- and zero-carbon transport within the city as part of the Toyota Mobility Foundation’s $9 million (€8.35 million) Sustainable Cities Challenge. Venice’s initiative is looking for innovations that will inspire people to consider more sustainable methods of travel.

Made up of the historic city of Venice, as well as the lagoon islands and mainland urban areas such as Mestre and Marghera, the City of Venice is the capital of the Veneto Region. Most of the city’s population lives and works in the mainland suburbs, with Mestre acting as a crucial transportation hub thanks to its roads, rail links, and airport.

Venice has invested resources into infrastructure that support the growth of sustainable mobility in the city, including over 180km of bike lanes, bike-, scooter-, and hybrid car-sharing services which was the first of its kind in Italy. In recent years, the city has invested in making its public transport system more sustainable with 30 new electric buses and plans for 44 more. The city also plans to launch 90 fuel cell buses by 2026 and by 2029, expects more than 32 hybrid waterbuses for its famous canal network.

However, according to a 2023 Audimob report, many people often use familiar transport methods and routes, meaning that these low- and zero-carbon modes of transport are currently underutilized.

As part of the Sustainable Cities Challenge, Venice is welcoming international innovators to develop creative ways to motivate individuals to rethink how they travel around the city and to encourage greater use of these low-and zero-carbon options. The city is looking for ways to better understand the needs of commuters and local communities to create a transport system that not only works for Venice but also helps the city become more sustainable.

In addition to a share of $3 million (€2.78 million) of implementation grant funding, participants in the Challenge will gain exclusive insights into a complex transport system that includes both land and water networks, as well as real-world experience of designing and delivering an effective and impactful behavior change campaign. Entrants will also have the chance to engage directly with city officers and other key stakeholders, including mobility providers, giving them access to potential future partners and influential decision makers.

We understand the importance of making our city sustainable and have invested in a range of low-carbon transport systems for the people of Venice. However, we recognize that these changes cannot just come from building new infrastructure or creating policy alone. We need to find solutions that really respond to the needs of our residents and that is why we are excited to be part of the Sustainable Cities Challenge. We want to work with innovators from around the world to make sure that our city is ready for the needs of tomorrow.

Paola Ravenna, Head of the European Policies Department for the City of Venice

The initiative, spearheaded by the Toyota Mobility Foundation and designed in collaboration with Challenge Works and World Resources Institute (WRI), aims to bring cities and innovators together to develop sustainable, inclusive, data-driven mobility solutions fit for the future.

Throughout this Challenge, we will be working with innovators from countries across the world to encourage the people of Venice to adopt more sustainable methods of transport. The solutions developed here could also be applied to other cities, encouraging a global wave of sustainable mobility.

Monica Perez Lobo, Director at Toyota Mobility Foundation Europe

Making transport systems more sustainable isn’t just about developing new technical solutions. Understanding the needs of the people who use those systems is just as important. This Challenge is a unique opportunity for innovators from different disciplines to apply their ideas in a real-world setting and will allow them to see what really works and has an impact on how people use transport systems in cities.

Kathy Nothstine, Head of Future Cities at Challenge Works

It is very exciting to see how innovators from around the world will respond to this Challenge and what solutions they will develop to help make the city of Venice more sustainable. This Challenge will result in real innovation which will benefit the people of Venice. But it is even more exciting to think how these solutions could also be applied to cities in other countries to improve the lives of even more people.

Ben Welle, Director of Integrated Transport and Innovation at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

Venice is one of three cities to host City Challenges, alongside Detroit, USA and Varanasi, India. Over 150 cities from 46 countries around the world entered the Challenge after the call to cities was first launched in June 2023.

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Launched 29 May 2024 – Once known as the ‘Motor City,’ Detroit is looking to become a ‘Mobility City,’ seeking innovators who can help the city deploy clean and cost-effective mobility solutions as part of its transition.

The Detroit City Challenge is focused on Eastern Market, the largest food production and distribution center in the United States. Its growing residential and commercial presence means that the city wants to explore solutions that tackle congestion and pollution caused by freight, to improve the health and wellbeing of the surrounding community.

Entries to the Detroit City Challege are open now.

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Launching 27 June 2024 – Varanasi is located on the banks of the Ganges River in northern India and is the “spiritual capital” of India. A revered pilgrimage destination, the city sees visitors from across India as well as abroad. This influx of visitors, while vital to strengthening the city’s tapestry of faith and culture, is leading to increased concerns about safety and crowding.

The Varanasi City Challenge aims to generate innovative, data-driven solutions incorporating elements of technology and design that make crowded areas of Varanasi’s old city (Kashi) safer and more accessible for religious tourists and residents alike including vulnerable members of the population.

SOURCE: Toyota

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