How can footfall and transport be used innovatively to generate income and improve environmental sustainability in the City?

Thank you to everyone who contributed to Challenge #4 and made this the most popular challenge for discussion and ideas. It was obvious long before the challenge closed that the Open Innovation team associated with this challenge would have a hard task on selecting the ideas best suited for further development. There were 60 separate replies to this challenge, many of which detailed more than one idea as to how we could improve environmental sustainability in the City or exploit the amount of footfall and transport.

The Open Innovation team of Jacqui Warren, Rob Dunning and Nikki Welch spent some time at the close of the challenge collating all the ideas received and drawing them out of the discussions that had taken place. All ideas were then subject to an evaluation exercise which was carried out in conjunction with the Council’s Sustainable Transport Team and other relevant departments. This evaluation was based around the following criteria: Relevance to the Challenge (i.e. did the idea relate to footfall, transport, improving sustainability or generating income); Feasibility of solution (based on Sustainable Transport Team’s expert opinion); Timescales (could the solution be implementing in the short to medium term); Resources required (could this realistically be resourced and financed); Originality (was this solution different to any current or future work planned);

These criteria enabled us to shortlist down to a number of ideas that we felt open to further development and implementation. These ideas were:

  1. ‘Sponsor a Street’ proposed by Ben Murphy – A campaign where the pedestrianisation of a street or area is paid for in part by contributions from individuals, businesses etc. Each contribution is marked in some way i.e. engraved stones with contributor’s name.
  2. Energy generating pavements proposed by Heather Niven – Sections of pavement which contain electricity generating paving stones.
  3. Cycle Counters and Air Pollution real time displays proposed by Andy D’Agorne – Signs along key city routes which count/display the amount of passing cyclists during a 24hr period and signs that display an NO2 ‘score’ to demonstrate the air quality at that location.
  4. Energy generating exercise bikes proposed by Chris Wedgwood – An exercise bike facility where electricity is generated and sold back to the National Grid under the ‘feed-in’ tariff scheme.
  5. Open Data Sharing proposed by Antony Powell – A public area to display all traffic volume information and other transport related data.
  6. Low emission Mini-Bus fleet for schools and community groups proposed by Elizabeth Bates – A council owned fleet of vehicles which could be used by groups as and when required.
  7. Road Trains proposed by Kate Lock – Increased use of NRM road trains across the City, joining up tourist attractions and providing ‘hop-on, hop-off’ transport on city centre routes.
  8. Digital Display Signs proposed by Antony Powell - Use of electronic road signs to report journey times/congestion levels and encourage other forms of transport across the City.
  9. Free City Centre Shuttle Bus proposed by Andy D’Agorne – Proposal for a free hop on, hop off bus to service key attractions/areas of the city.
  10. Smart Parking Tickets proposed by Antony Powell – Smart parking machines which utilise touch screen technology, speeding up the process and gathering data for analysis.


Next Steps

So that we can further narrow down these brilliant ideas to two or three we held a workshop on last Thursday (15th March) which was attended by the majority of idea generators, members of the Open Innovation Team and representatives from the Council’s Sustainable Transport Team. Each idea was presented by the idea generator or a representative on their behalf. The pros and cons of each idea were debated in a lively group discussion and then a ‘closed vote’ took place.

The Open Innovation team intend on reporting back on the outcome of this workshop this week, including the information presented by each idea generator, discussion points on the Pros & Cons of each idea and the results of this vote. The vote will then be opened to you, the public, on our web platform and the results will dictate which ideas are chosen for development and implementation.

We’ll let you know when the vote is open but keep checking on the platform!

The original thread and all discussions and ideas can be found here.

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  • The vote for your favourite Challenge 4 ideas closed on Friday 6th April. Many thanks to everyone who contributed and took the time to choose their 'top 3' ideas. The votes have now been counted and the results are as follows:

    1st : Energy generating pavements (65pts)
    2nd : Free City Centre Shuttle Bus (60)
    3rd : Cycle counters and Air Pollution real time displays (52)

    4th : Low emission Mini-Bus fleet for schools and community groups (33)
    5th : Road Trains (32)
    6th : Energy generating exercise bikes (23)
    7th : Open Data Sharing (22)
    8th : Sponsor a street (12)
    9th : Digital Display signs (7)
    10th: Smart Parking Tickets (5)

    (Based on a scoring system of 1st choice = 3pts, 3rd choice = 1pt).

    The vote can be found here.

    A total of 54 people voted. Please note that votes were also cast via email at

    Our commitment was to pursue the development of the top 3 ideas, as voted for by the public. The Challenge Team will now work on investigating further into the feasibility of each idea and developing a business case. This will aim to outline options surrounding each solution (whilst remaining as close to the original proposal as possible) and the associated financial and resource implications.This will be done over the coming weeks. The team will work closely with Council experts from relevant departments and any other key stakeholders in the development of these business cases. It is envisaged that once these have been completed the business cases will be made public and feedback and consultation on the implementation of the solutions will be sought. Please keep checking the GeniUS! web platform for further updates.

    Once again, thanks to all those involved so far.

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What is GeniUS York?

This website is for anyone and everyone to share ideas on how we can tackle the challenges that York and its inhabitants face. We want to encourage and develop new and imaginative ways for the city to meet some of its key challenges.