Inspiration

The COVID-19 pandemic has lead to heightened levels of anxiety regarding healthcare, germs, and protective sanitisation measures. This project came about when one of our team members realised that despite all the advertising Public Transport Victoria (PTV) was doing in regards to their new cleaning measures the trains don't seem any cleaner than before.

As we researched public transport sanitisation measures, we found that although PTV responded to the pandemic with extra healthcare measures (such as employing 300 jobseekers as tram cleaners and installing 270 hand sanitisation stations) corruption and back-door bribes meant that proper deep cleaning measures weren't undertaken.

The contracted cleaning company for PTV, Transclean, was found to have paid off a Metro train executive to hide the fact that they were not properly cleaning trains at the height of the pandemic. To add insult to the injury, it was also found they colluded to purposely contaminate trains in a bid to sabotage trials of a new cleaning products that risked cutting Transclean’s revenue.

After reading this shocking news, our team posed a question to ourselves: How can we create a solution to provide simple and transparent answers for commuters? Most importantly, it had to be a solution that could be implemented after the hack. Additionally, this solution would have a by-effect of increasing public confidence in using public transport again and inadvertently alleviate congestion on the roads.

The solution we came up with was Cleaner.io.

What it does

Cleaner.io is a quick and secure way for the cleaners to verify when they last cleaned the train, tram, or bus which allows complete assurance for passengers. Cleaner.io uses a system of QR codes to verify when the cleaners enter and exit the trains, which allows us to create a timestamp of when it was cleaned last. This allows us to measure the time spent cleaning the train and are then able to analyse and predict if the time spent was enough to sufficiently clean and sanitise the train.

In an interview Yarra trams cleaner, we found that they primarily used a paper based system and after their shift the papers just get stacked up into a big pile. Cleaner.io allows cleaners to do away with this disorganised method which does not get archived in a database.

We plan on implementing digital screens in all forms of public transport which allows for passengers to see how long ago the train was cleaned. Along with this information, the screen also contains a QR code which allows passengers to find out a little more about when it was cleaned and deep cleaned last and allows them to rate the cleanliness of the train.

How we built it

We first started with a Figma Prototype for the app while on the ideation stage of our hack. We developed the solution using React Native for our frontend so that it was compatible with both iOS and Android right out of the gate. We chose to host everything in AWS using an API Gateway backed by some Lambda functions which called a dynamo DB table to record cleaning logs. We had a function to commit logs to the system, as well as another to get individual logs and list multiple log entries. Using AWS allowed us to create a cost-effective easily scalable solution which we were able to deploy in the time constraints of the hack.

Challenges we ran into

The challenges we ran into came at us hard and fast. We had issues big and small, with a bunch of software and hardware problems. As usual, there were formatting struggles, API integration errors as well as the obligatory merge conflicts that seem to never go away. In and amongst all that we had some laptop overheating issues, running out of storage space and how can I forget the biggest issue of all, keeping awake.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

As a team, we are incredibly proud of what we've been able to produce in the short 48 hours of the hack. We were able to develop a complete solution that we think solves a pretty important issue concerning public health in Victoria. Our app presents itself with a clean and easy-to-use UI to solve problems faced by the cleaners as well as the commuters. Therefore we cannot be more proud of what we've been able to achieve this hack. We are also really proud of our pitch video and the amount of work we were able to put out in such a short amount of time. However in saying that we were all able to bond more as a team and get to know a lot more about each other and I feel like the biggest achievement of all is the lifelong friendships we've been able to create from this hackathon.

What we learned

We picked up a lot of new skills this hack, learned a lot about React Native, AWS and picked up some snazzy video editing and UI design skills along the way. We were able to learn a lot as a team, both soft skills as well as technically, and were all able to further ourselves as individuals and aspiring professionals.

What's next for Cleaner.io

We have big plans for Cleaner.io. As it is such a niche product we haven't been able to find anything else in the market. We plan to bring this idea to PTV and see if we are able to receive the funding to roll out our solution as we believe that it can create an immediate impact on our transport network. Following this, we would like to integrate this with the PTV app so that commuters are able to see when a train was last cleaned before they even have to step foot in it. Along with this, we would like to further the analytics of the data that we will be able to capture from this solution and use it to implement more training, staff, or anything else to improve the health and safety of Victorians. We would also like to roll this out further to other states and eventually also other countries.

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