One of Wellington City’s greatest challenges and contentious issues is that of traffic management and flow. Traffic being pedestrians, cyclists, public transport, taxis, freight, and private vehicles. Therefore the challenge is: “How do we increase the quality of transport around the Eastern Suburbs Peninsula and to and from the Central Business District?”

Initial challenge ideas
A number of early ideas have come out already as people have started to work on the hackathon. These are examples only, and participants shouldn’t constrain themselves to these in particular. Also, we expect that some ideas are going to concern residents, and want those people to understand that these are just ideas and that any future implementation of ideas will have to go through the usual processes, in particular where it affects the community.


1: Peak flow to / from airport

Using data from airlines and the airport gates, can we determine peak flow to and from the airport? The premise being that at certain times of the day, several thousand (20,000 over the period of a day) taxis, buses, tour operators, cars (and other traffic) move too and fro. If we could let people know when peak flows are, we could avoid travelling at those times. What if we could give people real time information on which routes to the city are optimal. What about providing incentives (e.g. points or discounts) in exchange for going one route over another.

2: Parking

Parking anywhere in the Miramar Enterprise District for a maximum of ninety minutes. We know that at certain times of the week, such as Friday night and Saturday morning shopping, the vehicle movements in Miramar are high. This is because each commercial operator has flagged carparks as their own, meaning that you have to move your car between various car parks in order to do your shopping. If there were a flat parking rule, or similar, then people could walk between shops reducing traffic flow.

3: Flexible travel

Don’t travel at all into the CBD for work, at least once a week. Flexible working practices don’t work for everyone, however, in the 21st Century a lot of us can work from our own place at least once a week. This would reduce the overall traffic load and if we provided an open place to work in the Miramar Enterprise District, would significantly support local businesses.

4: Bus location

Take real-time GPS information from public transport that shows the bus number and it’s location. Many people in Eastern Suburbs would likely utilise public transport if they knew where their bus was and how far away. This could reduce travel times for individuals by minutes to an hour each day. They could have a stress free coffee knowing that their bus was twenty to thirty minutes away. This is NOT to be confused with the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s electronic signs, which require you to be at the bus stop before you get the information. (And the same information on their website isn't as helpful as actual locations)

5: Visualise information

Can we represent traffic flow in a three dimensional way with other overlays and make it generally available to the residents? The Wellington City Council has excellent modelling tools that allow you to visualise the city. Can we use those tools as a base to create quick visual representations that impart information fast and efficiently (as opposed to a text based system)? This theory is based on the idea of “Enchanted Objects” where colours are used to show people “at a glance” the state of something. For example, red means traffic is heavy and green means now is a good time to travel.

6: Bus and bus stop loadings

A common complaint about public transport in Wellington is that it is too well-used, ie in some parts of the city and times of the weekday, already-full buses must drive past willing passengers. It doesn't take this happening too often before people switch back to their car. Given the majority of peak weekday riders use Snapper getting on and off the bus, it should be relatively easy to obtain passenger loadings for a bus across it's route. This would give useful insight in to where the pain points are in the network, and might even prompt such innovative solutions as 'put an extra bus on each hour for certain choked routes'. AraFlow's bluetooth sensing technology could be used to gather bus stop loadings (ie number of waiting passengers), to corroborate these pain points.


The outcomes from the hackathon are generally aligned to solving the challenge and also providing an opportunity for the participants to take their own ideas further. We think the outcomes are: Producing a set of ideas, prototypes, applications, and designs that show how we could improve traffic in and around Eastern Suburbs and to and from the CBD.

For those ideas, prototypes, and designs that we think have the most likelihood of succeeding (we’ll all vote as a group) running a “Dragon’s Den” type presentation approach with the Mayor and City Councillors, and other groups as well. E.g. Greater Wellington Regional Council and New Zealand Transport Agency.

Document and refine the hackathon approach so that it can be applied to the entire city, other suburbs, with the same, or different, challenges. For example, another challenge may be: “How do we increase engagement from residents on Council consultations?”

We want to start grouping together a bunch of people who can leverage open source data and form a community of creative thinkers that can set their minds to solving community problems like traffic, consultation, free access to the Internet, and whatever else we put our minds too. We have our first sponsor that is going to provide us with some very cool technology to play with. Their boxes are going up in and around Eastern Suburbs so we have real data to play with. We are also in the process of finding other open transport data that can be used on the weekend.


We are proposing that all the ideas from the weekend will be “open sourced” to the wider community (via this wiki), so please only participate if you are comfortable with that. We have a strong bias towards community sourced ideas implemented on open source and open data platforms. We have an agenda and it is to show what is possible through the application of technology in an open and collaborative way. We are excited to have commercial supporters joining in as participants and sponsors but the focus will be on community driven, open collaboration.


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