Local Transport Hackathon – Dubai 2017


RTA Transport Hackathon Dubai 2017

A joint initiative by


27-28 March 2017 | Emirate of Dubai (United Arab Emirates, Middle East)

1st RTA Y4PT Transport Hackathon Dubai 2017 Report by Youth For Public Transport (Y4PT) on Scribd

Background – Global Hackathon in Montreal

With increasing digitalization, globalization and new players entering the sector, in times of rapid change, we must play with the new constraints and we cannot afford to stand on the sidelines. We must play an active role and “LEAD the TRANSITion”!

The Youth For Public Transport (Y4PT) Foundation (https://www.y4pt.org/), with the support of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) (https://www.uitp.org/) and its members, and following a long-standing tradition of Y4PT Youth Lab series, is promoting the organization of local transport hackathons around the world, by combining the best of boundless human creativity and the benefits of current information and communications technologies (ICTs) in collaborative environments, with the aim of advancing transport sector towards sustainability.

Winners from each local transport hackathon will join Canada-based hackers at the 1st Y4PT Global Transport Hackathon Montreal 2017 (https://www.y4pt.org/projects/youth-meeting/montreal-2017/) in the framework of the 62th UITP Global Public Transport Summit Montreal 2017 (https://www.uitpsummit.org/) – the world’s oldest running and leading sustainable transport event – to contest in a final round for unveiling the world’s best ground-breaking transport solutions.

Many cities around the world such as Almaty (Kazakhstan), Bangalore (India), Bogotá (Colombia), Brescia (Italy), Brussels (Belgium), Cambridge (England), Cape Town (South Africa), Dubai (UAE), Edinburgh (Scotland), Eindhoven (Netherlands), Ghent (Belgium), Hyderabad (India), Kampala (Uganda), Lisbon (Portugal), London (England), Madrid (Spain), Manchester (England), Medellín (Colombia), Santiago de Chile (Chile), Skopje (Macedonia-FYROM), São Paulo (Brazil), Stockholm (Sweden), Zagreb (Croatia) among others, are hosting the first local transport hackathons. Other cities are also welcome to join.

Different local stakeholders such as universities, youth groups, ICT companies, transport operators, authorities, start-up mentors and hackers are called to collaborate with Y4PT and to be part of the world’s first ever global transport hackathon.

Everyone is invited to get on board. This is a one-off opportunity to show to your audience and users how important is for you to support this kind of event where innovation and creativity is putting forward new ICT-related solutions to boost both the private sector business performance and the public sector policy efficacy, and thus to unlock new opportunities to expand, diversify and renew your organization’s portfolio of products and services.

Overview – Local Hackathon in Dubai

As many other cities, Dubai is going through a gradually-increasing integration with the outer world that has meant new and disruptive socio-economic conditions which market and its players are yet striving to adapt well. For instance immigration, climate change and security are three core pending issues on both the global and local agendas.

Furthermore, emerging concepts such as sharing economy are not anymore a matter of the future. They are already here, being present now among all of us somehow. And they are fostering a fast change at all levels in different sectors, forcing all existing approaches to be re-thought.

For years the transport field has served as the right testing ground for new technological developments and results have been later replicated in other sectors.

In the light of the above, several stakeholders, with the Roads and Transport Authority of the Emirate of Dubai (RTA Dubai) (https://www.rta.ae/) as the local leading party and the 1st Honorary Founding Member of Y4PT Foundation, have joined forces to organize the Dubai’s first ever transport hackathon, an open and collaborative space where citizens, residents and any other people are called to contribute to solving major transport-related challenges while employing ICTs in an ingenious way.

What is a Hackathon?

A Hackathon is an event, typically lasting several days, where a number of skilled people meet to engage in software programming and hardware prototyping, with the aim of ingeniously solving specific issues in a collaborative and cooperative environment. Hackathon outcomes usually lead to the inception of startup projects and trigger other innovation processes in different ICT-intensive fields such as the transport sector.

Transport Challenge

Hackathon projects should contribute somehow to an ultimate goal, doubling public transport’s market share worldwide (PTx2): UITP estimates that it would save around 170m tons of oil and 550m tons of CO2 equivalent; reduce urban traffic fatalities by 15%; double the number of jobs in public transport operators as well as reduce the risk of obesity and heart disease by 50% thanks to the greater role of walking, cycling and public transport.

Moreover all projects should be in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially the one addressing sustainable transport (Target 11.2): “By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding  public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable  situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons”.

A wide range of current and critical challenges faced by the transport sector as a whole will be addressed during the Hackathon, with public transport as the cornerstone of multimodal mobility solutions, in line with the Y4PT’s holistic point of view on sustainable transport.

  • Congestion
  • Urban Sprawl
  • Shared mobility
  • Road Safety
  • Active Travel
  • Urban Pollution (Air-related and others)
  • Security
  • Accessibility for Persons with Reduced Mobility
  • Combination of Passenger and Freight Transport
  • Intermodalilty
  • Health and Transport
  • Long-Haul Transport
  • Payment and Pricing
  • Weather Forecast and Climate Change
  • Electrification of Transport (Zero Emissions)

How do we make a modal shift from a dominating fashionable private transport to an unfairly-acknowledged modern public transport? Dubai’s present-day urban mobility paramount challenge

On their daily life, people who inhabit Dubai, choose certain travel options more often than others, based on a wide range of possible motives such as responsive demand (e.g. “I can travel at any time”), point-to-point trip (“I can travel door-to-door”), journey privacy (“I can choose my travelling companions”), load capacity (“I can carry what I want”), weather conditions (“I can travel with A/C on all-journey-long”), ownership (“I am free to use it as I want”), tailor-made trip (“I can personalize my travel”), affordability (“I get the money to travel the way I want”), perception (“the way I travel reflects on me and who I am”), among other reasons.

Taking into account current local people’s travel preferences, RTA Dubai draw Hackers’ attention in order to come out with groundbreaking ICT (Information Communication Technology ) solutions on how to make a modal shift from private motor transport to public transport .It has to be noted that in 2016 public transport accounted only for 16% of total trips in Dubai.

Or in other words

How to effectively encourage people to withdraw or at least to significantly reduce demand for privately-owned personal-use motor-powered means of transport such as household automobiles and motorcycles to regularly ride on a more modern public transport in combination with shared mobility options such as car-sharing and car-pooling, and active travel alternatives such as biking and walking, in order to minimize critical transport externalities such as car-triggered traffic congestion, loss of and thus, to achieve a well-balanced sustainable modal split in the whole Emirate of Dubai?

Hacker’s Profile and Teaming-Up

The Hackathon is an event open to the general public (people over 21 only).

Hackers must demonstrate knowledge and/or experience in the transport field, as well as being capable to play roles such as:

  • Algorithm designers
  • Software programmers
  • User interface designers
  • Project managers (business development)
  • Marketers / Communicators

Each team will be made of up to five (5) members, ideally corresponding to each of the profiles above mentioned.
Hackers are free to choose if they want to run a project individually, or on the contrary, they want to teamed up with others.

English language must be the working language during the Hackathon.


Any person who is willing to participate as a hacker must fill out the online registration form in advance:


Those hackers who initially registered individually but would like to set up a team, on the first day of the Hackathon they can meet other hackers in the same situation.

Hackers must bring a valid official photo ID to enter to the Hackathon venue.

What should Hackers bring to the Hackathon?

The Hackathon venue will be provided with High-speed Internet access, tables, chairs, electric sockets, audiovisual equipment and other basic resources.

It is up to hackers to bring whatever they might need to develop their projects on-site.

Checklist might include the following tools:

  • Laptops and peripherals
  • Smartphone
  • Tablet
  • Smartwatch
  • Multi-socket extension
  • Ethernet Cables
  • Desktop Software
  • Digital camera
  • Video recording camera
  • Portable storage devices (e.g. USB flash memory)
  • Set of databases

Open Data

Currently different organizations in both public and private sectors have released a wide range of sets of databases, freely accessible to the general public, without restrictions on use.

In the case of the public sector, access to open data is one of the key principles of transparency and good governance, necessary for the control exercised by citizens on results of the performance of leaders and civil servants, as well as the effectiveness of public policy in different areas.

On the web there are different open data libraries:

Hackers are advised to download in advance databases and to storage them in hard drives (or removable discs) to be used during the Hackathon.


One (1) member of the winning project team will have the one-off opportunity to travel to Montreal (Canada, North America) , to attend the 1st Y4PT Global Transport Hackathon 2017 (https://www.y4pt.org/projects/hackathon/), in the framework of the 62nd UITP Global Public Transport Summit 2017 (https://www.uitpsummit.org/), the world’s oldest running and leading sustainable transport event.

The prize includes strictly:

  • One (1) air ticket, round-trip, Dubai-Montreal-Dubai, economy class
  • Budget, shared accommodation
  • Free access to the 62nd UITP Global Public Transport Summit 2017 (food provided during this event only) (https://www.uitpsummit.org/register-now)

The name of the person travelling to Montreal should be agreed by the whole winning project team. It is recommended that such person holds a valid passport (expiration date should be longer than eight (8) months at least). The day right after the Hackathon is concluded Canadian visitor visa permit processing and air ticket booking will be initiated.

Jury Panel

The winning project will be chosen by a select jury panel with extensive experience and knowledge in transport subjects.

  • Abdulla Ali Al Madani CEO, Corporate Technology Support Services
  • Abdulla Ghuloom Al Bastaki Director – Technology Strategy & Governance, Technology Strategy & Governance
  • Adel Mohammed Shakri Director – Transportation Systems
  • AbdelMalek Ibrahim Abu Sheikh Manager – Transportation Policies & Planning, Strategic Planning
  • Representative from Dubai Police

Each submitted Hackathon project must be brand-new, unpublished (not having been showcased at past events) and in its entirety as well as each component, must be comprised of the team’s original work (third parties’ intellectual property must be properly credited according to the legal terms of these parties’ works).

Hackathon projects must clearly include an approximation of at least:

  • Algorithm
  • Code
  • Graphic interface
  • Business model

Program – Date and Time

The Hackathon will take place from Monday 27 until Tuesday 28 March 2017 :

Day 1: Monday 27 March 2017

  • 08:00 am: Registration and Breakfast
  • 09:00 am: Message from Y4PT Foundation (Mrs. Alessandra GORINI)
  • 09:15 am: Presentation of Transport Challenges
  • 09:30 am: Teaming-Up
  • 10:00 am: Hacking (Mentoring included)
  • 02:00 pm: Lunch and Networking
  • 03:00 pm: Hacking (Mentoring included)
  • 07:00 pm: Dinner
  • 09:00 pm: End of Hackathon Day 1

Day 2: Tuesday 28 March 2017

  • 08:00 am: Breakfast
  • 08:30 am: Hacking (Mentoring included)
  • 01:00 pm: Lunch and Networking
  • 02:00 pm: Preparation of projects presentations
  • 03:00 pm: Pitching
  • 03:30 pm: Judging
  • 04:00 pm: Awarding


The Hackathon will be held in the Emirate of Dubai (United Arab Emirates, Middle East) at RTA Dubai Innovation Lab (Al Sufouh).


The Hackathon has brought together the most important actors in the public transport sector at both global and local level:

  • Roads and Transport Authority of the Emirate of Dubai (RTA Dubai) (https://www.rta.ae/): One of the most acknowledged and respected transport authorities in the world, RTA Dubai is the local government entity that regulates urban mobility in the whole Emirate.
  • International Association of Public Transport (UITP) (https://www.uitp.org/): With over 130 years of history, UITP is the only spokesperson for the public transport sector worldwide, representing the interests of all stakeholders, including authorities, operators, supply industry, and academic-research centers.
  • Youth For Public Transport (Y4PT) Foundation (https://www.y4pt.org/): Established more than 10 years ago by the UITP, Y4PT is the leading global youth network on sustainable transport.


For further information, contact the Hackathon coordinators:


Keeping up with #Y4PThackathon

Follow up the Hackathon on social networking/media websites (https://www.y4pt.org/social-networks) such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube by using the hashtag #Y4PThackathon .

Y4PT Transport Hackathon

Y4PT Transport Hackathon