Danone Joins 100+ Accelerator to Boost Sustainable Startups

The Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF) has announced that Varanasi, alongside Detroit and Venice, will host innovation challenges as part of the Sustainable Cities Challenge. This $9 million global initiative aims to promote sustainable mobility, creating healthier and safer urban environments while enhancing people’s ability to commute, work, study, and access services.

Since the launch of the Sustainable Cities Challenge in June 2023, over 150 cities from 46 countries applied. In November 2023, ten cities were shortlisted, from which three finalists were selected. These three cities will now launch their own City Challenges, inviting global innovators to collaborate on tailored mobility solutions. Varanasi’s City Challenge will commence on June 27, 2024. Solutions must address the specific mobility needs of the cities, with the best proposals gaining access to up to $3 million per city in innovation grants for pilot testing. By 2026, the top solutions will be selected for further scaling and implementation.

As a major heritage city in India, Varanasi faces challenges due to its high influx of tourists, which while culturally enriching, also raises concerns about safety and overcrowding. The Varanasi City Challenge seeks innovative, data-driven solutions incorporating technology and design to make the city’s crowded areas, particularly the old city (Kashi), safer and more accessible for pilgrims, residents, and vulnerable populations.

Akshat Verma, IAS, Municipal Commissioner and CEO of Varanasi Municipal Corporation/Varanasi Smart City, expressed enthusiasm about participating in the challenge. He highlighted the initiative’s potential to enhance mobility and bolster Varanasi’s reputation as a premier tourist destination through collaboration with innovative minds.

Pras Ganesh, Executive Program Director at Toyota Mobility Foundation, emphasized their commitment to unlocking opportunities through mobility. He expressed excitement about working with partners like the World Resources Institute and Challenge Works to identify and scale innovative mobility solutions in Varanasi, Venice, and Detroit.

Vikram Gulati, Country Head and Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Governance at Toyota Kirloskar Motor, celebrated Varanasi’s selection, highlighting Toyota’s dedication to sustainable urban transportation. He believes the challenge will transform Varanasi and contribute significantly to global efforts in creating sustainable urban environments, providing templates for other cities.

The three City Challenges will address different aspects of sustainable mobility relevant to each city’s context, focusing on expanding access to safe, affordable, and inclusive transportation. Potential solutions may involve leveraging data for connected mobility ecosystems or reducing environmental impact through low-carbon solutions.

The cities, working with TMF, Challenge Works, and the World Resources Institute, have consulted local organizations and stakeholders to design their Challenges. Innovators worldwide with ready-to-test solutions are invited to address each city’s specific issues. The selected solutions will be tested, developed, and deployed using real-world data with access to transportation departments and infrastructure.

The Sustainable Cities Challenge, funded by TMF and designed with Challenge Works and the World Resources Institute, aims to unite cities and innovators to develop sustainable, inclusive, data-driven mobility solutions for the future.

For more information about the Sustainable Cities Challenge and the Toyota Mobility Foundation, please visit their website.

Source link