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Auckland Regional Council scores hat-trick for innovation at TUANZ awards
Auckland Regional Council took top honours at the 2002 Telecommunications and Users Association of New Zealand Innovation Awards, winning all three of the categories entered with its �Virtually thr� initiative, aimed at encouraging Aucklanders to use public transport.

Virtually thr, (meaning �virtually there�) is the text messaging and WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) service linked to ARC�s transport information website www.rideline.co.nz. It allows information about buses, trains and ferries to be requested and received by text messaging from mobile phones.

Virtually thr last night edged out competition from a number of top industry players to win the TUANZ e-business Award, Telecommunications Project of the Year, and Telecommunications Innovation Award, following on from last month�s success winning the IBM award for �Overall Excellence in the Use of IT� at the Computerworld Awards.

ARC Chief Executive Jo Brosnahan said the successes reflect the council�s commitment to achieving excellence in environmental, economic and social outcomes for Aucklanders through innovation.

�While it�s exciting to see a local authority footing it with the commercial sector in the technology innovation stakes � and coming out on top � for the ARC this is really about delivering the best possible outcomes for our ratepayers through creative and leading edge solutions.

�Transport is a key issue for Aucklanders and Virtually thr is an example of smart thinking to encourage more use of public transport, ultimately easing congestion and improving air quality.�

The technology was developed in partnership with Spatial Media, Ivan Barshinskey Ltd, Datasquirt and Transfund NZ.

For ARC Operations and IT Director Tony Darby, winning the three TUANZ awards signals not only excellence in technology development, but acknowledgement of a firm customer focus. �Not only is the ARC making better information more accessible to more people, we�re also providing cost effective solutions for ratepayers and the public.

�Virtually thr represents a number of Australasian firsts, allowing our customers to receive passenger transport information when and how they want via the internet, SMS and WAP."

Virtually thr is one of the many initiatives that have contributed to the significant increase in public transport usage across the Auckland region over the last year.

One of the judges commented, "I like it because it solves a business problem, a consumer problem, and answers the wider community issue of getting people back on public transport."

The TUANZ e-business Award, Telecommunications Project of the Year, and Telecommunications Innovation Award were sponsored by Simpson Grierson x-tech group, Cisco, and Alcatel respectively.

ARC working in partnership with

providing transport information the way you want it.

Also see computerworld award win.

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Virtually thr - hat trick
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