Unlocks work on smarter transportation and economic development

CHICAGO — February 23, 2017 —UI LABS and Mastercard today announced a new partnership aimed at improving the access to and use of urban services, such as transportation. Under this collaboration, City Digital, UI LABS’ urban infrastructure innovation platform, will test a series of hypotheses, maximizing Mastercard technology and insights.

Chicago RiverThe first Chicago-based pilots will explore ways to reduce transit congestion at peak periods and improve economic planning through the activation of data from public transportation providers, taxi, and bike share systems, as well as Mastercard data insights.

City Digital partners will use pilot outcomes to transform transit and economic development planning in cities globally. Predictions of transit supply and demand could be used by transportation providers to adjust service and trip frequency in real-time. On the rider side, employees could adjust work schedules to take advantage of less congested travel periods.

Azure cloud computing technology from Microsoft, another City Digital partner, will power the initiative.

“The goal is to deliver a vastly improved experience for both transit providers and riders, including commuters and visitors, as they travel to jobs, classes, events, and other destinations in their communities,” said Brenna Berman, CIO and Commissioner of the Department of Innovation and Technology at the City of Chicago.

Future initiatives might include consumer spending trend insights to inform smart urban planning – like how the addition of a grocery store could affect overall economic development in an underserved area.

“We are excited to work with Mastercard through City Digital on not only transit demand management and economic development tools, but also on our other urban infrastructure projects in areas like energy management,” said UI LABS CEO Caralynn Nowinski Collens. “Combining Mastercard assets with those of our other industry, startup, and university partners, we can co-develop solutions and test them in a real-world environment to bring them closer to market readiness.”

City Digital and Mastercard announced the partnership during a workshop co-hosted with Microsoft and the City of Chicago at Goose Island-based UI LABS.

“As the global trend towards urbanization continues, Mastercard is committed to leveraging its products and solutions to reduce friction for citizens and realize efficiencies for cities,” said Linda Kirkpatrick, EVP, Mastercard. “It’s collaborative, cross-industry partnerships like this one with UI LABS, City Digital and Microsoft that can improve the quality of urban life.”

Development of the transportation-related pilots will begin this spring. Pilots on additional topics, such as economic development, will be announced at a later date.

About UI LABS and City Digital

UI LABS brings University + Industry together with startups and government to collaborate on problems too big for any one organization to solve on its own. UI LABS is building a portfolio of applied research and commercialization labs that improve its partners’ competitiveness and financial performance, and transform entire industries. Across its current labs, UI LABS has more than 300 members from industry, government, community organizations, and academic and research institutions. Learn more at www.uilabs.org.

In 2015, UI LABS announced the formation of its second lab, City Digital, which uses Chicago as a testbed for infrastructure improvements in the areas of water and sanitation, energy management, and mobility. Ongoing pilots include research to improve Chicago’s stormwater drainage system, which is frequently overloaded, and mapping Chicago’s underground to prevent construction work from disrupting utility service. Learn more at www.citydigital.org.


Mastercard Communications Contact

Bernhard Mors
+1 914 325 9676
bernhard.mors@mastercard.com