Toyota Mobility Foundation launches Sustainable Cities challenge

21 June 2023

  • Toyota Mobility Foundation launches a $9 million, three-year Sustainable Cities Challenge to bring cities and innovators together
  • The challenge aims to help cities reduce carbon, improve access, and enhance data-driven concepts for more resilient transport systems
  • Entries are now open to city leaders and municipal governments, transport departments and other related local and regional agencies

The Toyota Mobility Foundation, in partnership with Challenge Works and World Resources Institute, has launched a $9 million (approx. £7 million), three-year global challenge to help cities adapt to the future, with the potential to transform the lives of millions of people around the world.

As cities grow and evolve, the challenges of moving people and goods in reliable, efficient, and inclusive ways have never been more important. At the same time, opportunities to apply advances in transport modes, infrastructure design, operations, energy options and connected data systems, are particularly promising.

The Sustainable Cities Challenge aims to improve people’s lives by increasing access to jobs, education and other essential services. It will bring cities and innovators together to implement mobility solutions that could reduce carbon, improve accessibility and use data to build more resilient transport systems.

Ryan Klem, Director of Programs at the Toyota Mobility Foundation, said: “Our experience over the past decade has underscored the importance of local cities’ buy-in and engagement with our activities. Throughout the Sustainable Cities Challenge, we are looking to work alongside cities to find innovative solutions in the areas they identify as critical to develop a scalable model for the cities of tomorrow.”

Call for Entries

Entry to the first stage of the Challenge is open to city leaders and municipal governments, transport departments and other related local and regional agencies. Entries should be submitted to meet one or more of the following themes:

  • Expanding access to safe, affordable, and inclusive modes of transportation
  • Harnessing the power of data to create connected and resilient mobility ecosystems
  • Reducing environmental impact through low-carbon and renewable energy solutions

Shortlisted cities will be invited to attend a capacity-building academy in the US and will receive support developing their challenge design, becoming part of a wider network of other innovative city teams.

In February 2024, three winning cities will be selected to host a City Challenge to attract entries from global innovators. Innovators could be homegrown – living in the city or country chosen – or may be from anywhere across the globe, but with solutions applicable and adapted to the winning cities.

The winning innovators for each city will be announced in late 2024, and the cities and innovators will share $9 million in funding to test and roll out their solutions.

Many cities are now adapting to new behaviours and lifestyles, as people’s lives move increasingly online and work patterns change. More than half of the world’s population currently lives in cities and the United Nations predicts this will increase to two-thirds by 2050. Additionally, cities are responsible for 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Sustainable Cities Challenge is funded by the Toyota Mobility Foundation and has been designed in partnership with Challenge Works and World Resources Institute. Challenge Works is an international leader in developing challenge programmes to drive new thinking and find creative solutions to problems facing society. World Resources Institute is a global research organisation which works with partners to develop practical solutions that improve people’s lives and ensure that nature can thrive.

Kathy Nothstine, Head of Future Cities at Challenge Works, said: “Brilliant people all over the world are working hard to create innovative solutions to help mobility systems work better, and with a lower carbon footprint. The Sustainable Cities Challenge will help those innovators interface with cities to test and adapt solutions according to local needs to improve people’s lives. Challenges like this can act as catalysts for change by accelerating innovation in real world settings.”

In addition to helping cities decarbonise, transforming mobility systems will help cities become more inclusive and accessible for their inhabitants. Currently, 1.2 billion people living in cities do not have access to one or more core services.

Ben Welle, Director of Integrated Transport and Innovation at World Resources Institute’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, said: “Cities are in need of innovations to foster sustainable mobility that reduces emissions, improves health, and increases access to jobs and opportunity for all. The Sustainable Cities Challenge is an excellent opportunity for cities globally to build capacity and support innovators to work hand in hand with officials.”

To find out more and to enter, visit the Sustainable Cities Challenge website.


About Toyota Mobility Foundation

The Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF) was established in August 2014 by Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) to support the development of a more mobile society in which everyone can move freely.  The Foundation underscores Toyota’s on-going commitment to continuous improvement and respect for people. It utilises Toyota’s expertise and technologies to support strong mobility systems while eliminating disparities in mobility. TMF works in partnership with universities, governments, non-profits, research institutions and other organisations, creating programmes that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address mobility issues around the world.

In the past, TMF has led a range of Challenges, including the global Mobility Unlimited Challenge, CATCH in Malaysia, InoveMob Challenge in Brazil and STAMP Challenge in India. You can find out more about TMF and how it is governed at  

About Challenge Works

For a decade, Challenge Works has established itself as a global leader in designing and delivering high impact challenges that incentivise cutting-edge innovation for social good. Challenge Works is a social enterprise founded by the UK’s innovation agency Nesta. In the last 10 years, they have run more than 80 prizes, distributed £100 million in funding, and engaged with more than 12,000 innovators. Challenge Works believe no challenge is unsolvable, partnering with non-profits, governments, and other organisations around the globe to unearth the entrepreneurs and their innovations that can solve the greatest challenges of our time. Visit them at 

About World Resources Institute

World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organisation with offices in Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States, and regional offices for Africa and Europe. WRI’s 1,700 staff work with partners to develop practical solutions that improve people’s lives and ensure nature can thrive. Learn more: and on Twitter @WorldResources.

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Toyota Mobility Foundation launches Sustainable Cities challenge


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