Have a real-time information product for mobile devices? Fukuoka is willing to try it in their city!

The japanese city of Fukuoka is seeking products/solutions to deliver real-time bus, destination and tourist information to visitors in an easily accessible way on smartphones, screens and mobile devices. The city invites companies worldwide to submit their solutions before 17th February to the Living Labs Global Award 2012.

Submissions to the Award are free of charge and the winner of the Fukuoka category will be invited to pilot the solution in the city, with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

In last year's edition, Worldsensing for example managed to see a pilot implementation of its FastPrk Technology to monitor parking within 6 months of winning the Living Labs Global Award.

For the 2012 edition, with the aim of improving mobility in Fukuoka, we are seeking a solution that provides bus and city information to non-daily users using a mobile platform: Mobile Bus Information System, or MBIS for short. The MBIS should include information on current city traffic conditions, bus schedules, bus transfers, the time needed to reach any destination, tourist information, city information, and so on (more information here).

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online on until 17th February.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

For more information:


Tel.: +34 93 1855110 Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook:

Infographics' Importance

I’m a sucker for good design. You might not guess it when you see me; I’m often a bit disheveled, not nearly as stylish as I’d like, slightly sweaty and wind-blown, fresh off my bike. But a simple graphic or crisp image can inspire me to think and speak more concisely. Fortunately for us all, there are other people who appreciate good design and are good at producing it. It’s not just these works’ innate beauty, but their ability to turn complex data into useful information that makes them so powerful.

bicycle commuting

The US Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration recently held a student data visualization contest. Students from the US were tasked with combining data visually from various sources to make compelling policy statements. The two winning graphics were recently announced: Infrastructure Financing Policy Simulation and Visualization Model and Bicycle Commuting Trends in the United States. has been a master of infographics in my opinion, producing both printed-page and interactive graphics covering a plethora of topics for broad consumption. The winning student graphics don’t quite match the level of attention to aesthetic detail as GOOD’s, but still they are useful. Most importantly, the contest makes the statement that the Federal government is invested in promoting design; that it recognizes that often it’s not what you say but how you say it that matters for influencing decision-makers.

In my experience, the ability to take complex data and churn it into simple information is a rare and valuable skill. Students and professionals pursuing development should seek opportunities to practice it.

-          Terra Curtis

Good data: why we want it and what keeps us from having it

Living Labs Global will soon be announcing partner cities for its 2012 Showcase Award – a mechanism through which innovative solutions compete against each other to win the right to pilot in one of several global cities (see the 2011 Award categories).  Each partner city defines the specific challenge they face and specific solutions are then suggested. Without spoiling the announcement, I’ll note that several of our partner cities this round are concerned with better data.  What good does data do?  At the very least, it serves as the basis for good information – a synthesis of data that is meaningful to humans.  Good information can enable good decisions; at the very least, it enables informed decisions.  Good decisions, in this context, are those that are made with full knowledge of the nuances of a specific urban problem (e.g. not just that obesity rates are high, but that obesity rates are high among particular populations X, Y, and Z).  The power of the information is seen in the resulting focus of the solution on each nuance of the problem.

This round, our cities are focused on obesity, physical activity, tourism, food waste, energy, sustainability, housing, heritage, happiness, and health care, among other things.  I see three different barriers to better data among this group of categories:

  1. Access to private data by governments
  2. A lack of ability to monitor and/or synthesize certain data
  3. Loosely-defined concepts of interest (e.g. sustainability, happiness, heritage)

These three barriers (can you think of others?) will play a pivotal role in solutions designed to improve data, information, and decisions for our partner cities.  Keep an eye to our blog and Showcase to see what companies are coming up with.

- Terra Curtis

TIME Magazine on Intelligent Cities

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Intelligent Cities: Bill Saporito from National Building Museum on Vimeo.

TIME Magazine recently has been running a series focusing on intelligent cities, a topic we've covered several times here on The Global Mobility Report.  As a global news source with 25 million international readers, TIME attempts to capture breaking news but also large trends in culture and ways of life around the globe.  Therefore, the focus on intelligent cities serves as an indicator of the topic's growing audience and appeal.

The issue's articles focus a lot on particular examples -- places where elements of intelligent cities have already been implemented.  These places include the efficient and affordable transportation system of CuritibaStockholm's smart grid, and Kansas City as a laboratory for Google-provided high speed internet.  Bill Saporito, TIME's assistant managing editor (see video), also highlights some of the higher-level thoughts about intelligent cities: that they will be places rich in information, where all people have access to this information, and where information is separated from raw data systematically, avoiding the inefficiencies of "noise".

One of the most interesting things Saporito mentioned in the interview was his idea of why intelligent cities are so important: they provide the ability to plan ahead.  I hadn't thought of it in this way before, but what intelligent cities will do, if successful, is provide information to citizens (e.g. when is the next bus coming, when my water bill will reach $50 this month, how quickly will I burn through this tank of gas) that enables them to change their current behavior based on the future.  Intelligent cities will sort of institutionalize behavior change -- a subject policy makers, planners, elected officials and many others spend lifetimes trying to influence.

TIME has done a nice job aggregating the information on and examples of intelligent cities and I recommend checking it out.

- Terra Curtis