July 11, 2011

N.Y. MTA launches competition for best transit apps



The New York  Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) launched MTA App Quest, a competition challenging tech developers to create software applications that increase access to information and improve the travel experience for customers of New York's subways, buses, railroads and bridges and tunnels.

ChallengePost, a global marketplace for challenges and community-driven innovation, is powering and co-sponsoring MTA App Quest with the MTA.

The winning app developer will receive the grand prize of $5,000. Smaller cash prizes will go to the developers of apps that are judged to do the most to help train and bus riders and bridge and tunnel motorists better navigate the MTA's system and those that are deemed most popular by the public. The MTA is not contributing financially to the prize money pool.

For a complete list of prizes and contest rules, visit http://MTAAppQuest.com.

This competition is the latest component of the MTA's effort to improve the way that customers access information about New York's transportation network, from activation of countdown clocks in subway stations, to real-time bus tracking, to improvements to the MTA's website, redesigned maps, clearer audio announcements, and more.

To provide more data for developers to use as they design apps for MTA customers, the MTA is releasing new data sets to complement its existing schedule, geographic and other data sets. The newly released data sets consist of:

    * Historical data showing times and locations of train movements on the 4, 5 and 6 subway lines throughout May 2011.

    * Location data of resources inside subway stations such as platforms, elevators, turnstiles and station agent booths.

    * Shapes of bus routes.

    * Locations of outside retailers who sell E-ZPasses.

    * Performance data for all MTA Agencies from 2008 to present, including on-time performance, ridership, mean distance between failures, elevator and escalator availability, and injury rates.

To maximize the amount of data available to contestants, the MTA will continue to make additional new data sets available through July 21 for developers to use.

Winners will be selected by a panel of judges made up of technology and transportation experts, including:

    * Jen Chung, Executive Editor, Gothamist, and Co-Founder, Gothamist LLC

    * Jeff Ferzoco, Creative and Technology Director, Regional Plan Association

    * Stephen Goldsmith, Deputy Mayor for Operations, City of New York

    * Mark Gorton, Founder and Chairman, OpenPlans and Founder, Tower Research Capital LLC

    * Wael Hibri, Chief Enterprise Information Officer, Metropolitan Transportation Authority

    * Noel Hidalgo, Director of Engagement Technologies, World Economic Forum

    * Ben Kabak, Blogger and Founder, Second Avenue Sagas

    * Lawrence Levy, Executive Dean, National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University

    * Rachel Sterne, Chief Digital Officer, City of New York

Submissions to the MTA App Quest are due by Sept. 26, and the public will be invited to view and vote for all submissions for three weeks this fall. Winners will be announced in November. The competition is open to individuals and organizations in the U.S. and its territories. Submitted apps should run on the web, desktop computers, tablets, and/or mobile phone platforms.

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