Project Info

Pinecone thumbnail

Team Members

curtis , Stacey , Travis , Jesse , Shannon Roberts , Floyd

Project Description


What is this app?

AutoTrace is made as an extension to the current NZ COVID tracker app. Due to the manual nature of using the app on public transport, incorporating AutoTrace to the already existing NZ tracing app, would allow for the app to track when you get on and off of public transport. This allows for ease of contact tracing and improves the confidence of everyday transport users, to get the country moving again in an environmentally friendly way.

How this app works

A resident would install the app and enable tracking. When the user enters the geofence of a bus, they are considered on the bus, and the app reports this to our server. This ensures that we know when and where they boarded but also when and where the user leaves the bus geofence. From this, we can find all users who got on the bus at the same time as any other user. If a user then tests positive for COVID, we can find all shared bus users for contact tracing. This can be extended to any form of transport if given tracking data of their vehicles. This implementation is far easier for a user compared to the current solution of entering all the data manually, something that a lot of kiwis will forget to do.

The admin side of this app is for contact tracing use only. It allows for admin to enter a user_id and see all contacts and there contact details, along with the routes the infected users travelled allowing for broader contact tracing of people who don’t use the app.

#covid-19 #public-transport #contact-tracing #caring for the aged in covid times #coronavirus #identifying government investment for enhancing community safety #keep it out #stamp it out #manage it #or recover from it #learn to be green #responding to the next regional country or world emergency #safer communities together #green #pandemic #automate #geofencing #transport #safety #recover #uniteagainstcovid

Data Story

AutoTrace Data Story


When researching data about AutoTrace we looked into three main areas; traffic pollution, Aged use of public transport and the pandemics influence on the use of public transport to try to justify the need for this extension to the existing COVID tracing app. Below shows the journey we took to get to where we are now, and how we interpreted the data to enable us to see the need for this product.

Quick Stats


Increase in gold card usage on public transport in the last 10 years


Decrease in road traffic during the pandemic


Decrease in public transportation use during the pandemic


Repondants reasoning as to why they haven't been using public transport during the pandemic |

Aged Care Data

Population by Age in NZ
Bus Patronage With SuperGold Card Past 10 Years
Looking at the above data we could see the need to look out for our elderly population, as they are the most at risk from this virus. By focusing mostly on protecting these vulnerable individuals, we can help ensure safer communities together.

This data above demonstrates just how many of the elderly population rely on public transportaion, which in turn shows the very reason why we need to make public transport a safer place.

This current deficiency in the COVID tracer app is exemplified here, and we at Pinecone aim to fill this deficiency by creating a solution that puts bus paassenegers at ease, knowing they can safely travel on puiblic transport again.

Pollution Transit Data

Emissions Data
Public Transport usage in last year
Seeing this data helped motivate us to push for a cleaner environment, and to aim to build a solution that can help move society towards this goal. We have linked this idea of a cleaner environment to the use of public transport to build a solution that will encourage the use of public transport, and in turn reduce the pollution being pumped into our atmosphere.

COVID-19 Data

Public Transport Patronage During The Pandemic
Survey Response About COVID-19
Impact of COVID-19 on Public Transport
Traffic Count during pandemic
As we can see above there has been a huge drop in public transport usage because of the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly due to the fear of catching the virus. It is our aim to give the populous peace of mind to use these services, and to reduce the fear by assuring passengers that if there is a new case on the same trip as them, they would be notified by it.

We can also see the along with public transport being down during the pandemic, so has most other road traffic, our hopes is that as the country begins to move again, we can incentivise people to use public transport more, rather than their own individual vehicles. If we can achieve this we will be helping to create a cleaner, greener environment.

Effect of Contact Tracing
As expected, there was no shortage of COVID-19 data sets avalable to us, but seeing them all tie in closely with public transport was a huge indicator to us that there is a gap here that needs to be filled, if we really want the population to seriously attempt to move to more widespread usage of public transport, we need a way to ease the fear of using it in these uncertain times. Because of this, we did a bit of research into the current contact tracing app and found major gaps, these being that it is not being used in public transprt at all and the frustration of having to manually scan QR codes. A little more digging and we found some data suggesting that contact tracing is an effective tool at suppressing the spread and risk of community transmission (Seen above)


Based on all of the data we have found above, we saw a need to develop an extension to the existing COVID-19 contact tracing app here in New Zealand, with a focus on automating the process of using it, as well as having a specific interest in public transport, which the current version is sorely lacking. It is our hopes that this extension will be a supplementary way to achieve our other major aims of this project, these being a cleaner, greener evironment, and safer communities for the aged in our population.

Evidence of Work



High-Res Image

Team DataSets

Impact of delays on the effectiveness of contact tracing strategies for COVID-19: a modelling study

Description of Use this model shows that with faster tracing and testing we can have a better fight against COVID and will avoid going back into a lockdown. The model also shows that minimizing tracking delay had the biggest effect on system effectiveness to stop transmission.

Data Set

Impact of covid-19 on financial wellbeing

Description of Use Show in this data is that kiwis are struggling due to the limited economy under COVID lockdown with effective tracing we can avoid a full lockdown and in turn keep the economy at maximum capacity to avoid increased poverty.

Data Set

Road motor vehicle emissions

Description of Use We used this dataset as inspiration to initially come up with our application idea as a solution to the fears around public transport and covid-19. This data set shows the justification for an application like AutoTrace.

Data Set

Greenhouse gas emissions (industry and household): Year ended 2018

Description of Use We used this dataset as inspiration to initially come up with our application idea as a solution to the fears around public transport and covid-19. This data set shows the justification for an application like AutoTrace.

Data Set

air pollutant emissions nz

Description of Use From this data, we can see that road vehicles are emitting a significant amount of greenhouse gasses and we want to enable the use of public safe transport during this pandemic.

Data Set

Public transport performance

Description of Use from this, we can see that elderly use public transport more compared to previous years, this is also the most at-risk group of COVID meaning that we need a way to keep there life moving while there is a risk of COVID, effective COVID tracing is the best way to ensure the safety of our elderly. We at AutoTrace believe that the safety of our elderly population is of high priority.

Data Set

All NZ crash locations map data

Description of Use this map shows that there is a dire need for better ways of transporting people to cause less death and injury, and during this pandemic, we need to minimize the pressure on the health care system in order to keep it available for the pandemic response. So using public transport reduces the number of crashes and hospital care required.

Data Set

car/bike crash statistics

Description of Use this data shows us that NZ would be safer with fewer cars on the road, when taking public transport we reduce the amount of danger to everyone, and in turn make NZ a better place going forward.

Data Set

Q&A on coronaviruses

Description of Use This information informed decisions on how long to check for contacts before and after an infected user was on a bus for them to be counted as close contacts or casual contact.

Data Set

Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Public Transit usage

Description of Use Because of its underuse, we can assume this is due to the fear of covid. We used this knowledge to initially come up with our application as a solution to the fears around public transport and covid-19. This data set shows the justification for an application like AutoTrace

Data Set

Resident population of New Zealand

Description of Use We used this graph to show that approximately 1/5th of our population is above 60+, which is a large total. This inspired us to reimagine caring for the aged.

Data Set

How do people travel

Description of Use AutoTrace has used this data to ascertain the different types of transportation New Zealanders are using. This provides an insight into how little we are using public transport compared to other methods - only 4.9% while cars are at 81% (driver or passenger). This data encouraged us to create an application for improved accessibility to public transport, to aid in becoming a cleaner and greener country.

Data Set


Keep it Out, Stamp it Out, Manage it, or Recover from it

How might we create a hack that could help New Zealand Keep It Out, Stamp It Out, Manage It, or Recover From a pandemic?

Go to Challenge | 6 teams have entered this challenge.

Learn to be Green

Because of the lockdowns the world became a cleaner place - moving forward how do we work towards keeping it like this?

Go to Challenge | 1 team has entered this challenge.

Responding to the next regional, country or world emergency

How can we better respond to the next regional, country or world emergency by leveraging emerging technologies and the plethora of government datasets available?

Go to Challenge | 5 teams have entered this challenge.

Caring for the Aged in COVID Times

How can we reimagine the aged care experience

Go to Challenge | 18 teams have entered this challenge.

Identifying government investment for enhancing community safety

How can governments apply resources so as to proactively address social issues before they escalate and require reactive interventions (e.g. social work, law enforcement etc.)?

Go to Challenge | 16 teams have entered this challenge.