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Jakarta Post

Kampung road app wins competition

  • Corry Elyda

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, June 11, 2015   /  01:13 pm

The 2015 New Cities Summit wrapped up with an announcement of the winners of the Jakarta Urban Challenge, a US$20,000 competition for innovators who could find the most effective solutions to the mobility and traffic problems in the city.

The first prize of $10,000 went to the creators of Squee, a technology dedicated to making the lives of pedestrians and cyclists easier.

Arlene Nathania, the co-founder and managing director of Squee, said on Wednesday that Squee was a social media and a navigation application (app) that unified pedestrians and cyclists to travel together on shorter and safer non-motorized routes across Jakarta'€™s urban kampung.

'€œUrban kampung are everywhere near your homes. The roads are mostly less polluted and see less motorized vehicles, but they are unmapped,'€ she said.

She added that she and her colleagues saw roads in the city'€™s kampung as an opportunity. '€œOur idea is to integrate urban kampung with the transportation system. So, the commuters can travel together using Squee,'€ she said.

She said the Squee app would enable the users to plan their routes, see other people'€™s plans, create a group and share information in the news feed. It also has an emergency button feature.

Arlene said the $10,000 prize money would be used to develop the application. '€œIf everything goes well, the prototype will be completed by the end of this year,'€ she said.

Besides Squee, two other projects that snatched the second and third prizes of $6,000 and $4,000 were, respectively, the Cyclist Urban System (CUS) and Jalan Aman (JA), a mobile app to help women safely use the public transportation system.

Khairunisa Kautsar, a representative from CUS, said CUS was a facility or a hub with which cyclists could park their bikes, get dressed, buy refreshments, repair their bikes, obtain first aid assistance and route information and even rent bikes.

Meanwhile, the third winning project, Jalan Aman, was a mobile phone app that focused on the safety of women on public transportation.

'€œThe app allows commuters to share where they are, connect to other travelers, to report incidents anywhere, such as where it happened, when and in which part of the route,'€ Paulista Surjadi, the co-founder of JA, said.

The app could also allow users to inform other users of the safest transportation options.

The second day of the summit was highlighted by a keynote speech by Nobel laureate and economist Muhammad Yunus, who shared his idea of curbing unemployment and ending poverty with a social business scheme.

The founder of Grameen Bank said that instead of conducting conventional business oriented toward personal profit, social business enabled businesspeople to help others.

'€œInstead of giving charity through corporate social responsibility [CSR], it is better to conduct social business,'€ Yunus said, adding that through this business model, the money would return to the donor and could be used to help others again.

Jakarta Governor Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama, who closed the event, said he wanted to send two city officials to learn about the system in the Grameen Bank.

He said he would try to start the project by giving funds to around 200 young entrepreneurs.

Participants of the summit were scheduled to visit various city projects, like the mass rapid transit (MRT) system in Central Jakarta, Kota Tua in West Jakarta and two modern cities in the suburbs of Jakarta.

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