LakeMacHack: want to help drive transport innovation?

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Lara Grierson


29 May, 2017

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Innovators with big ideas about improving current and future transport challenges could be awarded their share of a prize pool worth over $5,000 when Dantia presents Lake Macquarie’s first large-scale Hackathon, LakeMacHack, next month.

Urban planning enthusiasts, communicators, engineers, coders and graphic designers are invited to come together and help improve Lake Macquarie’s transport connectivity. With both cash and productivity prizes on offer, the 54 hour Hackathon challenge will take place at Dantia Smart Hub (DaSH) from Friday 16 – Sunday 18 June 2017.

Three challenge areas have been developed for disruption:

1. Bus and beyond: how can we innovate, optimise or combine our use of existing transport options?

2. Pedalling for impact: how do we make cycling experiences a more user friendly, integrated option in Lake Macquarie?

3. Lake Mac to Sydney: T-90 and counting. How can we optimise the use of rail and other transport modes to unlock the potential of our proximity?

The event will kick off with project leaders pitching their ideas for a solution to the group, with the remaining participants able to join whichever project best catches their interest. The teams will then work together to build first generation concepts and prototypes.

LakeMacHack is an initiative of Dantia, Lake Macquarie’s economic development company, to support the anticipated population growth to a quarter of a million in the next 20 years.

Dantia CEO, Peter Francis, said that the opportunities for forward-thinking and adaptable transport systems to overcome current infrastructure challenges are extensive.

“We anticipate that the concepts that come out of this Hackathon will demonstrate tangible evidence of how our local innovation ecosystem has the ability to change the way we live and work. We’re in an enviable position considering the liveability of Lake Macquarie and when combined with our proximity to Sydney – well, there is just so much untapped potential there.

“The unique geography in Lake Macquarie requires a transport system that is sustainable, adaptable for the future and scalable so it will grow as the community grows. We realise that the future of connectivity in our city can be found in the solutions and ideas of our community of innovators and entrepreneurs working alongside – and challenging – existing infrastructure owners and operators,” Mr Francis said.

Thanks to funding and support from The University of Newcastle, NSW Department of Industry and Lake Macquarie City Council, this Hackathon will provide students, professionals and corporates who are passionate about innovation and sustainability the opportunity to have a real impact on the future and create new economic value, innovations and fundable businesses.

Event facilitator, Brian Hill from Laughing Mind, urges participants to think beyond just their daily commutes and consider the economic benefits that innovation within the transport industry can generate.

Cycle based tourism now surpasses legacy industries as an income generator in New Zealand, USA and Tasmania. Areas of Lake Macquarie offer great riding destinations, but are poorly leveraged and integrated into a regional tourism experience. For example – if we can come up with a solution to circumnavigate the East and West sides of the Lake, connect our natural assets with diverse cycling and recreational adventure experiences, we have the potential to attract significant inbound domestic and international rider interest, ” said Mr Hill.

Event host, Brian Hill, racing electric bikes in the Hunter EV Festival at Cameron Park Image by Bill Collison

Event Details

When: Friday 16 – Sunday 18 June

Public Pitches: 5pm – 6pm, Sunday 18 June

Where: Dantia Smart Hub (DaSH), 63 Ridley Street, Charlestown


Registrations are now open, with tickets starting from $27.50 inc GST and booking fees. To find out more about LakeMacHack or to register, visit