Students Propose ‘Sustain-a-Ride’ App at Youth Hackathon to Drive Sustainable Commuting

In June 2023, TotalEnergies and Institut Francais in the UAE joined forces to organize an inspiring Youth Hackathon aimed at tackling the urgent need to improve the carbon footprint. The event brought together 40 talented students from esteemed universities such as Khalifa University, American University of Sharjah, Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, Zayed University, UAE University, and School 42.

Building upon the resounding success of previous editions, this year’s hackathon focused on empowering students to explore innovative strategies for sustainability, in the context of COP 28. Guided by experts from the Climate Fresk association, the participating students had the opportunity to present their groundbreaking solutions to a distinguished jury. The most comprehensive and impactful project, addressing the challenges of carbon emissions, has been honored during an awards ceremony graced by the presence of Hugo Henry Ceylan, Cultural Counselor at the French Embassy in the United Arab Emirates.


One standout solution emerged during the hackathon: “Sustain-a-Ride,” an application proposed by the students. This app aims to enable students within the same university to share their car journeys to and from campus. The students recognized a simple fact: the UAE has high CO2 emissions due to the prevalent use of personal vehicles. In response, they proposed a sustainable alternative to existing transportation options such as bikes, buses, and public transport, by promoting carpooling for those who still prefer private vehicles. By doing so, they envision reducing the carbon footprint at the university level while offering numerous advantages to the participating students, including the opportunity to make new friends, save on fuel costs, access designated parking, and share carpooling expenses.

The “Sustain-a-Ride” application goes beyond convenience. It incorporates a point system that rewards regular carpoolers with discounts and incentives, further encouraging sustainable commuting practices. This innovative solution not only addresses the pressing issue of carbon emissions but also fosters a sense of community and shared responsibility among students.

The hackathon itself is part of a broader initiative supported by the Climate Fresk association, which offers a collaborative and creative game to deepen understanding of the climate system and its disruption. With the hackathon as a platform for the students’ ingenuity, the association’s experts guided them in developing practical solutions that align with scientific knowledge and address climate change challenges.

By bringing together the brightest minds, the Youth Hackathon aims to foster an environment of collaboration and creativity. It empowers students to contribute their unique perspectives and innovative ideas towards mitigating the challenges posed by climate change. Through initiatives like this, students from various universities have the opportunity to make a tangible impact and shape a sustainable future for their communities and the world.

The success of the 3rd edition of the hackathon, underscored by the “Sustain-a-Ride” app proposal, showcases the remarkable dedication and talent of the participating students. Their collective efforts have not only earned accolades but also paved the way for practical solutions that can positively impact university campuses and beyond, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future for all.