Meet our 10 finalists
Simon Park is a fourth-year mechanical engineering and business student at the University of Victoria. He has a passion for innovation in the transportation industry and enjoys commuting by bicycle, rain or shine.
The Caboost is an out-of-the-bike innovation that will up-end the way people commute, all without the need to sit in traffic, wait for a bus, or break a sweat.
How is your project "smart" and aligned to the themes of Smart South Island?
The Caboost will be the first to apply innovative semi-autonomous technology to make commuting by bicycle easy, practical and affordable for everyone, regardless of physical ability. By enabling all residents, including low income families and seniors, to have greater access to suitable housing, work, leisure, and education, the Caboost will impact all five themes and improve the lives and prosperity of our communities.
How was the final concept determined?
I wanted to find an affordable way to commute without sitting in traffic, waiting for a bus, polluting the environment, or breaking a sweat every morning. Turns out, a lot of people share this need. The Caboost will be the first viable product of its kind to fully meet this market opportunity.
How does your concept name explain itself?
The Caboost (caboose + boost) is a small electric bicycle trailer that clips onto any bike and provides electric drive assistance.
Where else in Canada or the world could you see your project being effective?
As urban populations increase and become denser, cities around the world are facing enormous challenges with traffic congestion and inadequate public transit. The Caboost will play an important role as people look for better ways to stay connected within their cities.
What was the biggest challenge in creating your concept?
The Caboost is possible due to recent advances in technology; working with such new technology to do what has never been done before is incredibly challenging – and exciting. Overcoming challenges and failures was (and still is) a huge part of the design and learning process. The Caboost would not have the potential it does without the setbacks along the way.
What has been the most enjoyable part of creating your concept?
I love using innovation and technology to push the boundaries of what’s possible and using that technology to make a real difference in our community.
If you could select any well-known person to endorse your project, who would it be and why?
It would be great to have Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps on board with our project! Also, Tesla’s Elon Musk.
If you could include any partner(s) within your concept who would they be and why?
We would love to partner with local bike shops to help develop and eventually sell the Caboost. We also intend to partner with the public to provide design feedback and test early prototypes.
What long-term impact do you envision about your project?
By making cycling easier for a broader group of people, we would like to help grow Victoria’s cycling population from 7% to 10% in the next several years. This will begin to directly reduce traffic congestion and our environmental impact and encourage a healthier lifestyle. The Caboost will help meet the needs of a growing urban population and ease the transition to sustainable energy.
Why is Smart South Island important to our Region?
Smart South Island is important because it means improving every aspect of community life for all residents – both now and into the future.