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Hackathon Promises $50,000 to Apps for a Smarter Subway Ride

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, April 11 2013

Previous year's contest winner, Embark. Source: Embark

The New York City MTA and AT&T are co-sponsoring a two-day hackathon to launch this year's MTA App Quest program in partnership with NYU Poly and ChallengePost, which helps run problem-solving competitions for government agencies and software companies.

From May 4 to May 5, developers can compete for $50,000 in prizes by using the MTA’s public data and APIs to create smartphone applications that could offer visualizations of timetables, service alerts, and real-time feeds, assist with station navigation, especially for people with disabilities, help integrate MTA information into other services such as e-mail and calendars and take advantage of greater cell phone service availability to create data-driven models of train and bus performance and customer flow.

Apps emerging from the hackathon will be entered into the multi-month, virtual app challenge that is part of the App Quest program, which will be open to all hackathon attendees and developers across the U.S. Developers can continue working and updating their applications until the virtual app challenge submission deadline.

The event will take place at NYU Poly in Brooklyn.

The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T is offering the $10,000 in prize money for the hackathon and $40,000 for the winner of the App Quest contest, which is scheduled to conclude in early September.

Judges will include New York City Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne Haot, General Assembly Co-founder Matt Brimer and Personal Democracy Media's Andrew Rasiej, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Last year, winners of the App Quest challenge included a subway map navigation application called Embark NYC and a subway station locator.

Earlier this week, the MTA announced plans to broadly roll out interactive subway navigation screens. Over the past year, the MTA has also made available more real-time bus and subway data.

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