~ Entrepreneurs will receive funding and business mentorship to create a next generation traffic app that offers drivers real-time flooding and re-routing information ~

For Immediate Release
Paul Robinson
RISE Executive Director
(757) 258-0500

Norfolk, VA., July 27, 2020 – Today RISE announced four small business finalists of the $500K Urban Mobility Resilience Challenge. The finalists will receive funding, business mentorship, and technical support to create a traffic app that guides drivers in real-time to avoid flooded roads. One winner will demonstrate this first of its kind app in Hampton Roads of Coastal Virginia where RISE provides a real-world demonstration testbed for novel resilience solutions.

During flooding events, communities often experience significant disruptions to transportation. These disruptions affect private, commercial, and emergency vehicles as well as public transportation, detracting from local business’ viability, the quality of life for residents, and in extreme cases may threaten vehicle and driver safety. The difficulty in managing this issue is the lack of awareness of the location and severity of the flooding, and how to navigate around these hazards.

“People already use traffic and routing apps. However, automatically conveying rapidly changing flood hazards to such applications for their route guidance systems in real-time is complex and has not yet been demonstrated,” said Dr. Paul Robinson, RISE’s Executive Director. “Our Challenge teams are working to close that gap because coastal communities have been asking for this capability.”

The finalists will spend the next two months refining and demonstrating their systems in real-time, using the existing traffic app, Waze. Final products, however, will be applicable to all traffic and routing app platforms. 

The finalists will also receive intensive business mentorship to make their solutions economically viable and sustainable. The teams will benefit from RISE’s partnerships with Esri and Waze, and the partner cities of Houston, Miami, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, in addition to Sentara Healthcare, the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, the Port of Virginia, Old Dominion University, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.  

“These partnerships are essential in providing guidance to the teams to help refine their solutions and make them scalable to other coastal communities,” said Dr. Katerina Oskarsson, RISE’s Chief Strategy Officer.

The four teams will make a hub of 15 small businesses in total in RISE’s Resilience Community that are now piloting their innovative solutions and growing their businesses in several Hampton Roads cities.

“Big infrastructure projects, such as raising of roads that are prone to flooding, take years and millions of dollars to implement,” said Kyle Spencer, City of Norfolk’s Deputy Chief Resilience Officer and one of the Challenge’s technical judges. “The RISE Challenges give us access to creative, affordable solutions that the City and residents can use now to adapt to increasing flooding.”

RISE offers a one-stop-shop model that allows solution-builders to move from designs to the market effectively. The organization identifies resilience problems faced by coastal communities, sources solutions, facilitates deployment and validation, builds enterprise readiness and provides catalytic funding all in one place.

“Through these competitions, and the establishment of a Resilience Hub in Hampton Roads, Virginia, the region has become a real-world living laboratory for companies, where the products and services we need to adapt to the impacts of climate change can be demonstrated locally and applied globally,” said Robinson

With new Coastal Community Resilience Challenges launching in fall 2020, RISE will continue to provide more opportunities for small businesses innovation in the coastal adaptation and resilience sector. Sign up for updates here

Meet the Finalists:

About RISE
RISE is a non-profit with a mission to accelerate innovation and business growth around solutions to coastal communities’ resilience challenges. RISE provides businesses resources to develop, demonstrate and scale the next generation resilience solutions for coastal communities.