UbiGo (Sweden) and St. Lawrence Seaway (Canada) share prestigious transport innovation award

Swedish start-up UbiGo and St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation of Canada are the winners of the International Transport Forum’s 2015 Promising Innovation in Transport Award.

UbiGo receives the Award in the passenger category for its innovative all-in-one urban mobility platform that combines different modes of transport into a single offer for the everyday travel needs of urban households and companies.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) receives the Award in the freight category for the world’s first hands-free mooring system for deep water locks and the potential this offers for operating water-borne transport more efficiently.

The Promising Innovation in Transport Award is offered by the International Transport Forum at the OECD, an intergovernmental organisation for the transport sector with 54 member countries. It will be presented on 28 May in Leipzig, Germany, during the 2015 Summit of transport ministers.

UbiGo: Unified everyday travel service for urban households

UbiGo offers subscribers everyday travel via public transport, car-sharing, rental car service, taxi and bicycle sharing, all integrated in one smartphone app and with a single invoice.

Developed and tested in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city, UbiGo procures urban travel in volume from operators, repackages the offer and delivers it as combined mobility to users from a single platform. Users are charged with units deducted for use of mobility services, similar to how SMS, surf and phone calls are charged under flexible mobile phone subscriptions.

During a test phase with 70 paying households, over 12 000 transactions were made. None of the participating households stopped using the service and a clear majority want to stay on as customers, the main reason being convenience. UbiGo is currently working on a franchising concept that will allow local partners in large cities to operate the service using the knowledge, concept and brand developed in Gothenburg. UbiGo is co-operating with Ericsson to develop a next generation scalable IT-platform that can be used by UbiGo-services.

“A service like UbiGo acts as ‘grease’ between the ambitions of large cities to limit the use of the car and the need of households and companies to manage everyday life,” says Hans Arby, CEO of UbiGo. “UbiGo focuses on providing a better service than private car ownership can offer, not on convincing people cars are bad.”

UbiGo was developed as part of the Go:smart initiative funded by the Swedish innovation agency, Vinnov. Development is led by Lindholmen Science Park, with partners such as Volvo, Chalmers University, the City of Gothenburg, Viktoria Institute, Västtrafik and others.

In awarding the prize, the jury applauded the UbiGo project for putting customers’ needs at the heart of its approach to reduce car use and specifically noted “the good potential for replicability”.

Watch the UbiGo video: https://vimeo.com/96486671 (English)

Go to the UbiGo website: www.ubigo.me

St. Lawrence Seaway: Hands-free mooring of ships in deep-water locks

Manually securing cargo ships in locks with steel mooring lines is time consuming, labour intensive and potentially dangerous if a cable breaks. The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) in concert with its supplier, Cavotec, developed the first ever hands-free mooring solution for locks.

The SLSMC operates the Canadian sections of the St. Lawrence Seaway, a waterway that connects over 40 ports within the 3,700 km Great Lakes/Seaway System to the Atlantic Ocean. The Seaway has 16 high-lift locks, 14 within the Canadian portion and two within the US portion. Transiting each lock traditionally requires using heavy steel mooring lines to tie up a ship to a series of bollards on the lock wall.

The SLSMC, together with its supplier Cavotec, developed an innovative solution to modernise lock transits. The Hands-Free Mooring (HFM) system employs vacuum pads mounted on vertical rails to secure the vessel during the lockage process, tracking the vessel as it is raised or lowered, while keeping it at a fixed distance from the lock wall.

Prototypes were developed from 2006 to 2012, and implementation started in 2013. Full deployment of HFM will be completed by 2018, and will encompass all Seaway high-lift locks for a total of 16 locks under both Canadian and US management.

“Hands-Free Mooring is becoming a reality on the St. Lawrence Seaway because all the stakeholders supported the project,” said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of the SLSMC. “Vessel operators participated in testing; pilots made recommendations and acted as ambassadors; Transport Canada partnered with us in providing funding for the modernisation project; and Cavotec worked tirelessly to deliver the technology. Thanks to close co-operation with our US colleagues at the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, this project is becoming a universal solution for Seaway transits.”

Watch the Hands-Free Mooring video: https://youtu.be/SHpJGZCY40I

Eero Lukin