Linus Head attended the Innovate4Manchester competition from Tuesday 26th to Wednesday 27th November at the Manchester Science Park, held by Manchester City Council in collaboration with Geovation and Manchester Science Partnerships.
The event was aimed at a broad cross-section of Manchester’s population, including students, entrepreneurs, community leaders, and local residents. The task presented to attendees was to provide a solution to one or more of a number of environmental issues facing Manchester. Examples included air quality, alternative transport, placement of electric vehicle charging points, but it was up to each team to decide on what to focus and how. Before breaking into teams, the attendees were given talks by Paul Nebel, Senior Innovation Engineer at Geovation, and Adrian Slachter, Principal Resource and Programmes Manager at Manchester City Council, about the problems they face and how they might be overcome. After these presentations, teams were formed to develop a five-minute pitch on their chosen idea. Linus, in partnership with Pablo Marin, a business student at the University of Manchester, proposed the introduction of a bicycle-sharing scheme, with a focus on data-driven decision-making. A particular focus was placed upon the potential for time-of-travel Monte Carlo simulation to aid in the placement of bicycle stations. As a brief demonstration, Google traffic data was analysed to prove the effectiveness of the bicycle against the car at peak times. Despite stiff competition from the other attendees, Linus and Pablo came out on top and won first place, including a cash prize and a chance to kick-start a business under the Geovation accelerator programme.