Living, working and doing business in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (AMA) is more appealing than ever before. As one of the leading economic centers in Europe, Amsterdam offers a great quality of life which continues to attract new residents. As the city becomes more densely populated, city authorities face the growing challenge of ensuring that citizens have affordable and sustainable energy and mobility options. To ensure we keep Amsterdam a clean and healthy city, and to achieve our carbon emission goals by 2030, Amsterdam wants to accelerate innovation and support the development of new, smart technologies.

The 24-hours Amsterdam City Challenge is organized to stimulate citizens to come up with bright and bold ideas for a sustainable future. The challenges of this event are formulated on the topics of mobility and the energy transition.

Amsterdam City Challenge - Innovate the city in 24-hours

And the winners are…

The overall winner was ‘Team Switchport’, who won the votes of the audience, the prize for the best energy solution, as well as the 'Tada’ prize for responsible digitization. Team Switchport and team The Extra Mile - best mobility solution - won €1,000 each to help develop their ideas. In addition to this, the teams got the opportunity to present their idea to wider audiences across several stages at the WeMakeThe.City Festival, the 5-year anniversary of AMS Institute and the upcoming demo-days of Amsterdam Smart City to gather feedback on their plans.

We will continue to connect the teams to the right people and organizations within our diverse networks of the City of Amsterdam, AMS Institute, EIT Climate-KIC, Amsterdam Smart City and WeMakethe.City to support their work and help make it a success. Four of the participating teams were so keen on their ideas that they submitted their business idea in the AMS Climate Launchpad program in an effort to make their ideas a reality through coaching and support of the launchpad program.

If you would like to join us in this process, or learn more about the below solutions, please contact us at: acc@ams-institute.org.

The two winning teams

The challenges

Challenge 1:

How can we improve management of the mobility flows to major tourist attractions more effectively, such as the Zandvoort beach on sunny days?

Team Zandforward - Pop up bike rental

Nobody likes traffic jams. Especially when it is really hot outside and this line of cars separates you from enjoying the beach. During peak days at Zandvoort, Zandforward provides an enjoyable and car-free method of accessing the beach. The idea is to develop a mobile (pop-up) OV-fiets2 (bike) rental point close to the beach, where people can leave their cars, and use a bike for the last miles to the beach. This way they can escape from the congestion and enjoy the scenic environment even more. The product will be part of a larger ecosystem, the Smart mobility concept from Amsterdam’s action-program. The data provided by different actors in the ecosystem in combination with other data sources such as weather data allows for reliable prediction of peak traffic beyond the capability of the infrastructure.

Challenge 2:

How can we increase the safety of cyclists with respect to congestion on the bike lanes and roads (i.e. electric bikes, cargo bikes, and regular bikes)?

Team Goeie weg (translated: good direction) - An app and bike lane sensors
Goeie Weg is a solution that maintains the joy of cycling, and at the same time manages the flow of bikes by designing for the next level of cycling adoption. Goeie weg uses a dynamic two-step approach to make the solution systemic and inclusive: its an app in combination with street sensors (for those that don’t own a phone). Goeie weg is inspired by the Amsterdam ring-roads/lanes for cars. However, the rings are not fixed, designs and routes can change according to the traffic flows. Sensors in the shape of cobblestones light up in different colours to indicate which road you can take. They will provide a Handige ringweg (a convenient road) to take the quickest route where cyclist are allowed a flow of green lights. Or you can choose the Gezellige ringweg (a scenic route); this ring road is for commuters who like to enjoy the route they take.

Team flowriders - A mobile app solution
In an effort to reduce the amount of congestion on bike lanes, especially in the central area of Amsterdam, this solution introduces a mobile application that provides users with options for alternative routes and awarding them in return for not choosing the shortest and often most busy route. Through the app, bike lane users will be able to select which kind of ride they want in order to get from point A to point B, for example: a route that is more scenic or less polluted etc. These alternative options will provide incentives, i.e reward points, during rush hours that can be cashed in for products or services. The idea behind this is to motivate users to avoid taking fast routes through the city, which results in congestion, especially in the central district.

Challenge 3:

How can we organize the supply of fresh food and beverages in the city, in a more efficient manner?

Team FOMOLO - An AI platform
FOMOLO came up with a plan for an AI platform that connects suppliers, distributors and business owners to realize a more efficient distribution of food and beverages in Amsterdam. The deployment of AI matches the delivery orders with available capacity while optimizing delivery routes, thereby minimizing impact on city streets and reducing emissions. Furthermore, through the use of data collection and AI technology the system will be able to evaluate the use of new electric vehicles for the delivery routes to help accelerate zero emission delivery by determining the cost-saving potential. In the first phase, the platform will use electric cargo bikes to enhance the supply capacity, since analysis determined that cargo bikes are more efficient for a high percentage of the deliveries.

Team The Extra Mile -Trams as cargo transporters
The increasing demand for sustainably sourced food products has the unfortunate characteristic that the supply of the this system is decentralized. This leads to an increase in inefficient logistics, which in turn escalates the traffic congestion and increases carbon emissions within the city of Amsterdam. The Extra Mile will transform existing tram infrastructure into the new zero-emission cargo system to transport fresh food and beverages for Amsterdam’s hotels, restaurants and cafes (HoReCa). This innovation enables the capillary distribution of goods in a climate-friendly way by combining local storage facilities at the tram stops, adaption of regularly running passenger trams and e-bike distribution for the last 250 meter. This convenient “delivery-to-door” service aims to eliminate 2500 trucks per day (-50%), create 1500 jobs (infrastructure, drivers, etc...) and bring the City of Amsterdam one step closer to become 100% emission free.

Challenge 4:

Taking the Haparandadam as a point of inspiration, how can we install solar power in unusual places?

Team Happy Dam - A modular, multi-functional, interactive landmark
The Happy Dam is an interactive landmark showcasing and celebrating energy solutions at Houthaven neighborhood through its design and multi-functionality. The solution includes a modular structure for scalability and solar panel skin on the roof for the production of energy for neighborhood's public spaces. Moreover, it uses playful tools and spaces in the structure to accommodate different functions for community use: to produce energy, to educate, to relax and to enjoy the waterfront. In short, it is an educational renewable energy installations with interactive screens for measuring energy production.

Team Switchport - Multi-functional and dimensional, energy producing structure

On the Haparanda Dam an aesthetic structure will be installed. Not only will it produce energy, it also provides a larger social and identity function for the neighbourhood and city of Amsterdam. This multi-dimensional solution does not only rely on solar panels, but on diverse innovative energy production based on waves to make the neighbourhood truly innovative and sustainable. To ensure ownership, Switchport aims to involve the residents not just in the design and proposition phase but also financially, thereby improving social cohesion and responsibility.

Challenge 5:

How can we make data centers greener?

Team Heatwave/COZEE - A multi-stakeholder platform to scale up insulaton services

Data centers use a huge amount of energy. A substantial part of this energy is converted to heat. This residual heat is currently not being used. One of the reasons why it is not used, is that the buildings that potentially can use the heat are not very well insulated. The tremendous potential of using this heat becomes clear if you consider that about 5.6 million buildings in Amsterdam could make use of this heat if only they would be better insulated. COZEE is a proper isolation campaign and the first step to be able to use the waste heat of data center on a bigger scale.

Amsterdam City Challenge

Innovate the city in 24-hours

Amsterdam City Challenge

Exploring ideas and directions

Amsterdam City Challenge

No inspiration without relaxation

Amsterdam City Challenge

Celebrating team effort

Amsterdam City Challenge

Pitching ideas to a wider audience