An Exciting UPDATE: the winning team from Cambridge Transport Hack, Team ditch, sent Juan Canavera-Herrera to the global hack in montreal. team Ditch went on to be joint winners of the global hack, along with team Upway. We couldn't be more proud of the team we helped mentor. 

global transport hack in montreal, may 2017

We were thrilled to be a small part of helping Team Ditch develop their winning idea (full details from the Cambridge Hackathon in the post below) that took them all the way to Montreal. Juan Canavera-Herrera, one of the team's representatives, tells us of their success.

"It feels very overwhelming, to be honest. I went for my first hackathon just for fun and now after a couple of months, I am the world champion. It has been an incredible experience from which I have learnt a lot about the transport sector and the technology sector.

Simple but innovative concepts can make the whole difference in the world. And sometimes it doesn't matter if you do not know how technically to produce something, if you are very passionate about your idea the means to make it real will come along with the right people on board."

Juan has a very good tip for all aspiring hackers with ambition to make an impact in the world.

"My main tip for future first-time hackers is to please do not be afraid to try although you cannot "hack". I personally do not have at the moment the tech skills to programme or "hack", but hackathons are more about the ideas and the team, so go and open up to new ideas, new people, and new experiences and you could end up being the international winner of something!"

There is keen interest from different people for Ditch to bring the idea ahead, especially from Cambridge where the idea was born. How did events unfold in Montreal?

"Alessandra Gorini, one of the organisers of the Y4PT Hackathons around the world, was able to secure funding to also bring Maria along to Montreal, one of the original Ditch team members. So there were two of us representing from Cambridge.

Not all the ideas were further developed in Montreal. After a minute-long pitch by each team, the top 10 best ideas were selected. Ditch was selected as the Top 2 idea that day. We invited some of the other participants to join us and we ended up with a group of 6 people.

During the first day of the Global Summit of Public Transport, we pitched our ideas to new judges, and that afternoon at the end of the inauguration event, we were presented as winners.

The next 3 days, all the participants of the Hackathon had to present our ideas at the Summit. In these 3 days, we were able to talk to potential investors and organisations interested in our ideas. Additionally, we were invited to pitch our concept in a workshop about School Transport."

Cambridge Transport Hack, February 2017

An exciting and fast-paced weekend of creativity and innovation, finding solutions to the problems of congestion in Cambridge

On the weekend of the 25th and 26th February, 2017 the Cambridge Transport Hack brought together coders, designers, transport professionals, local tech groups, students and young minds, to participate in solving transport problems in Cambridge. Held at the IFM, Cambridge University, it was a hugely inspiring event, with a fantastic turnout of participants who arrived excited and stoked to get started, their heads full of innovative and creative ideas. John Monks, Co-founder of Impact Hub and one of the Cambridge Hack organisers, who sported an enviable belt of flipchart markers, said the idea of the event is to harness youth innovation with bright minds developing impactful solutions to one of the most pressing urban challenges.

The team with the winning idea would send a representative to Montreal to take part in the first Y4PT (Youth 4 Public Transport) transport hack. Also up for grabs was a 'Pete's Pedals' electric bike.

The team was there as part of a group of mentors to guide and help the participants when needed. There were many inspiring mentors from local organisations, including Martin Lucas-Smith from Camcycle campaign, University of Cambridge Transport Manager, Jess Cunningham, and other mentors that covered various areas of expertise within the transport industry. The mentors wore badges that spotlighted them as sources of knowledge that participants could draw on to help with their plans and ideas.

The weekend got off to a very exciting start. Mentors were briefed, hackers powered up their laptops, and plenty of coffee was circulating. We were treated to inspirational speakers that explained the issues of congestion and urban mobility in Cambridge today and the problems that we face with the current systems. How can we improve this for the future? There were warm up exercises and activities to get us talking to one another, to get the ideas flowing, and uniting us to work together to design novel solutions. 

The participating teams were encouraged to explore multiple ideas for the first few hours with the aim of focusing on the one that matched the criteria best as the day progressed. Prototyping and preparing for the pitching event followed the next day. 

The criteria the teams were judged by included knowledge of the problem that needs solving, the level of innovation involved in the solution, how technically and practically feasible the solution is, the scalability of the solution to other urban areas, and a clear understanding of who benefits. 

Expert speakers

Edward Leigh from smarter Cambridge  introduced Cambridge's transport challenges and Richard Wishart, Enterprise Architect, talked about moving people and goods not vehicles, while Colin Harris of Cambridge Connect presented on light rail. Lorenzo Casullo of OECD shared his poetic idea about transport policy "Transport Policy is a beautiful mix of facts and dreams. Know your facts, dream of your solutions, and come up with ideas", and Alessandra Gorini - Founder and Head of Youth for Public Transport, reminded us that our mission is to mix technology and humanity. You cannot forget about the people. 

Alessandra Gorini - Founder and Head of Youth for Public Transport (Y4PT)

Alessandra Gorini - Founder and Head of Youth for Public Transport (Y4PT)

Huge congratulations to the winning team: Team Ditch

The members of the winning team, Team Ditch.  Photo by Emma Fletcher, MD of  Smithson Hill,  and one of the winning team's mentors along with Richard Wishart and Daniel Quinn.  

The members of the winning team, Team Ditch.

Photo by Emma Fletcher, MD of Smithson Hill, and one of the winning team's mentors along with Richard Wishart and Daniel Quinn.  

Juan Canavera-Herrera will be representing the team in Montreal. We caught up with him to ask how he felt about the event and his team's success. 

"This was my first hackathon experience and I must say it ended up much better than I thought: my team won! The two-day experience at the Cambridge Hack was very interesting as I came with no expectations, and at the end of the two days I did not only win the competition with the amazing idea my group developed but also won more insight into Cambridge and its transport problems, and very important as well, I won a lot of new friends and possible future partners like the mentors".

We wish the team every success in their futures and will be rooting for Juan at the Transport Hack in Montreal. was proud to be part of such an engaging and energised event with the brightest minds and experts in the industry.

The Cambridge Hack was organised by CUTEC, Impact Hub and DaweLabs and sponsored by Y4PT, Allia, AstraZenecaSerious Impact, Alchera Technologies, Cambridge Consultants and Cambridge Space.