Calling all innovators

The City’s next innovation challenge is underway

Guelph, Ont., June 13, 2019 – The City of Guelph is searching for bold and innovative companies to enter its latest Civic Accelerator challenge focused on road condition assessments.

“Our community and organization strives to be a leader in innovation,” says Scott Stewart, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services. “At the City, we’ve challenged ourselves to find new ways to approach tough problems. We need a new way of thinking if we want to achieve new results.”

The Civic Accelerator offers an opportunity for the City to explore what emerging technological solutions are available and ensures the City keeps up with the rapid pace of change in technology to serve our citizens. Through its challenge, the City is asking companies of any size, including entrepreneurs and start-ups, how they might improve the capturing, monitoring, analysis and forecasting of data related to the quality of Guelph’s road network to help the City accurately plan maintenance and upgrades.

With more than 580 kilometers in the municipally-owned road network, this is not an easy task.

A local and national problem

The City’s challenge in predicting how road conditions will change over time, and when and how to do repairs, is a common concern across Canadian municipalities. Approximately 20 per cent of roads in Canada are rated as being in poor or very poor condition. These roads reduce the fuel efficiency of vehicles and create a financial cost for residents in vehicle repairs.

Cities own nearly 70 per cent of all roads, and spend considerable resources their maintenance. The Municipal Benchmarking Network estimates between $12,000 and $18,000 is spent per kilometer of road annually.

By optimizing repairs and maintenance for the road network, the City will increase the lifecycle of its roads, improve the overall quality of the road network and maximize the effective use of taxpayer dollars on road maintenance.

Doing things differently

“We’re looking for a company to help us do things differently. Our employees are professionals in their given fields, and as management, we rely on their expertise to make decisions. We also know we can’t know everything. The Civic Accelerator, with support from our multi-city collaboration, the Municipal Innovation Exchange or MIX, allows us to bring experts from outside of local government into our work thereby improving how we serve our community,” adds Stewart.

 “Cities can effectively create 10 times more value for their citizens by buying more innovative solutions. Guelph and its MIX city partners, London and Barrie, are well positioned to accomplish this through the co-creation of solutions with ventures and corporate innovators,” says Sue Talusan, Design Manager at MaRS.

A pattern of innovation and partnership

Working alongside community members and businesses to find innovative solutions is not new for Guelph. The City and Wellington County were recently awarded $10 million from Infrastructure Canada for their Smart Cities bid: Our Food Future. In another collaboration, Guelph recently released its Community Plan— a plan created by the community, for the community.

“Two years ago, the City of Guelph established a new way of working with companies through its Civic Accelerator pilot. As a proud partner in the project, we’re excited to see it evolve with the launch of this first MIX challenge,” says Anne Toner Fung, Executive Director at Innovation Guelph.

Proposals are being accepted for the road condition assessment until July 11, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. For project details and submission requirements, visit https://guelph.bidsandtenders.ca (bid number 19-110).

Watch for another Civic Accelerator challenge focused on enhancing communication within local government to be announced later this year.

About the Civic Accelerator

The Civic Accelerator is a program that enables the City to engage in open innovation with companies of all sizes, including entrepreneurs and start-ups, to create solutions that address complex municipal problems.

About the MIX

The Municipal Innovation Exchange (MIX) is an emerging centre of excellence using procurement as a tool for innovation. The MIX is a joint effort led by the City of Guelph, in partnership with the City of London, City of Barrie, and MaRS Discovery District.

For more information

Media contact:

Jennifer Smith
Manager, Corporate and Community Strategic Initiatives
Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
519-822-1260 extension 2120
jennifer.smith@guelph.ca

For information on road condition assessment:

Daryush Esmaili
Manager, Design and Construction, Engineering and Transportation Services
519-822-1260 extension 2765
daryush.esmaili@guelph.ca