We know of many different digital platforms that bring together the supply and demand of different services in one place. What we feel is missing is a platform that offers a helping hand to those in need in regard to mobility – both in public spaces and on public transportation.
Several groups regularly need a helping hand to overcome obstacles and barriers when they travel. At the moment, these groups may choose to use separate or private forms of transport – such as by taxi –, transport specifically for their target group, or being accompanied or driven by an acquaintance if necessary. Alternatively, they may opt to not travel at all.
The Transport Authority Amsterdam wants to encourage and assist these groups to make use of public space and public transport. It is important that public transport and the public space are accessible to everyone. We believe this can be achieved by encouraging other passengers/members of the public to offer a helping hand. Safeguarding mutual trust and trustworthiness is therefore essential to the success of the platform.
Our initial target group for this digital platform could be visually impaired and blind persons. A helping hand could come from students, employees of the GVB (the municipal public transport operator), the municipality, and Transport Authority Amsterdam. Following success with this test group, other target groups can follow, such as the elderly, people with prams/buggies etc. In the long term, the City of Amsterdam wants to be a frontrunner in accessible mobility, leading to a model that can be scaled across Europe.
The issue/assignment for startups:
Devise and bring to life a ‘helping hand’ digital platform that connects people with restricted access or a disability to random ‘helping hand’ passengers in the Amsterdam Area.
The startup must be able to build relationships with many different parties from the backgrounds of mobility and inclusivity, and must be able to bring these parties together through collaboration to ensure the success of the platform.
Vervoerregio Amsterdam (‘VRA’)
Transport Authority Amsterdam