Public, private silos hinder workable solution to city mobility issues

CATCH provides an opportunity for stakeholders in the govt and private sectors to collaborate in developing solutions to mobility problems

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE public and private sectors are viewed to have been working in silos when planning the cities and thus falling short of solving urban mobility woes in the country.

YTL Construction Malaysia director Natasha Zulkifli said Malaysia’s public and private sectors lack knowledge and data sharing to enable stakeholders to design a workable mobility solution for Kuala Lumpur.

“It is too siloed. No one is talking to each other in their little world. They might be duplicating each other’s work and overlapping in the jurisdiction. How could you ensure the best possible outcome for the people when you do not talk to each other?” Natasha told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) at the launch of City Architecture for Tomorrow Challenge (CATCH) in Kuala Lumpur (KL) yesterday.

Natasha, who had years of working experience in the government, said the real challenge in harnessing data and technology for mobility solutions lies in ensuring the data is “readable”.

She said data from various sources shall be harmonised and monetised to make it useful for sustainable urban planning.

“The challenge is not in allowing for open data to happen, but to make sure that the data is readable. For example, we know how many people ride the train every day. But how many of them are women or men? How many send their kids to school and so on.

“Data on trains are gathered from different control centres. Can it be harmonised in such a way that it can be read by outsiders?” she added.

As it is, she said CATCH provides an opportunity for stakeholders in the government and private sectors to collaborate in developing solutions to mobility problems and finally break the silo mentality.

CATCH is the world’s first global challenge aimed at seeking proposals to address mobility issues in KL and improve the quality of residents’ lives.

The competition, organised by Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF) and co-developed by Deloitte Future of Mobility Solution Centre, calls for a data- and technology-driven solution from start-ups, academics, corporations and the public to address mobility challenges in KL.

TMF has collaborated with the KL City Hall and Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC), as well as the Royal Malaysia Police, Land Public Transport Agency, MapIT MSC Sdn Bhd, Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd, Prasarana Malaysia Bhd and Grab as data partners.

“This is an opportunity for silos to be broken down to enable the private sector to work with the government via knowledge and data sharing. The programme also allows public-private cooperation to leverage new technology and data to develop a workable solution and hopefully, KL will become a better city with improved mobility and productivity,” Natasha, who was also one of the panellists at the event yesterday, told TMR.

TMF, a Toyota Motor Corp-backed organisation, offers a total grant of US$1.5 million (RM6.2 million) to the competition’s winning solution.

“CATCH was designed in partnership with the government to encourage data-driven but human-centred interventions to improve city planning and mobility ecosystem,” TMF secretariat president Shin Aoyama said.

The competition runs for eight months which involves the semifinalists stage for proof-of-concept development; finalists’ stage for minimum viable product development and testing, and grand winner for scale-up of an implemented solution in KL.

Throughout the duration, participants, who can be from overseas, will gain support including immersive incubation programmes, mentorship from industry leaders, networking opportunities with public-private stakeholders and trial implementation support in KL.

“Through CATCH, the global pool of talented start-ups, academics and the world’s brightest minds can develop their next-generation urban digitalisation ideas and accelerate KL’s evolution into a city of the future,” MDEC CEO Surina Shukri said.

The global call for applications is now open until March and a winner is expected to be announced in September this year.