Metro Morning

Union Station congestion: Hackers to take a crack at it

A group of about 200 creative minds will come together tonight and through the weekend to come up with a solution to traffic problems in and around Union Station.

[D]congestant hackathon will bring together 200 creative minds to ease traffic backups near Union

Traffic tie-ups are an everyday occurrence near Union Station. Starting today, a group of creative minds will come together to come up with solutions to the congestion. (John Rieti/CBC)

If you're ever in the vicinity of Union Station and the Air Canada Centre during rush hour or a sports event, you're probably familiar with the bumper-to-bumper traffic congestion.

Over the next 48 hours, more than 200 creative minds will gather to try to find solutions to that congestion for people who live, work and play in the area near Maple Leaf Square.

The [D]congestant Hackathon is being put on by the South Core Innovation Hub, a group of businesses in the area.

It will bring together not only coders, but also designers, behavioural economists and more. They will break into teams and use technology and data to collaborate on finding a solution to the area's notorious traffic tie-ups.

Ted Graham is leading the event. He's also the founder of the hub and innovation leader at Price-Waterhouse-Cooper.

He works in the area and wanted a way to stir up some new ideas for easing congestion in the area around Union Station.

"We want teams that will come in and bring different ideas that we wouldn't necessarily have thought of within our particular area," he said today on CBC Radio's Metro Morning.

"This group is going to have an amazing amount of data to sift through, but they're also going to bring their own perspective as commuters themselves." 

The work will involve about a dozen public and private employers, including Metrolinx and the mayor's office.

The goal is to reduce the number of productive hours lost to traffic volume.

The hackathon begins tonight and continues through to Sunday at the Cisco Innovation Centre on Queens Quay West

Judges will award prizes to the ideas and solutions that make the most impact and there will be no requirement to turn the ideas into an app or website. 

CBC Toronto is one of the event sponsors and station manager Marissa Nelson, along with CBC Toronto News at 11 host Mike Wise, will be speaking as part of the event.

Ted Graham is one of the organizers of the [D]congestant hackathon, which aims to address traffic problems that plague rush-hour commuters. (CBC)

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