The hunt is well and truly on for the next generation of apps for Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York) passengers as App Quest 3.0 gets underway. The MTA and AT&T launched the third annual App Quest this month which promises a total of $50,000 in prize money for developers of transportation-related apps in various categories. This year the focus is on apps that help the disabled navigate the subway, to increase MTA transparency and to give developers new forms of data to work with, the MTA is releasing four new sets of raw data. App developers will be able to use the new data and merge it with existing data to create apps that have never been seen before.
“We have been extremely impressed with the creativity, functionality and all-around usefulness of the apps that have been built with MTA data since we began posting it online four years ago,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “Apps foster greater MTA transparency and help our customers use our system more effectively, so we hope to see the creation of even more great apps. We are delighted to be partnering with AT&T, NYU CUSP, ChallengePost and Transit Wireless to stimulate the creativity of app developers and to help generate more apps that will further enhance our customers’ experience.”
This past Saturday saw 40 app developers participate in a day long-workshop to generate concepts with three of the participating teams recognized in a “fast pitch round” and three were recognized by the judges as winners in this particular challenge.
The winning concepts from the “fast pitch round” are:
• AccessWay, by Mike Cush, Kristin Loeb, Dharmarajan Ayakkad and Aaron Pelzer. AccessWay is a mobile way-finding app that will use existing data streams and underground locational awareness to assist visually impaired customers navigate the MTA Subway system.
• NYCSee (pictured top right) by Michael Vilabrera. NYCSee would merge various existing data streams and underground locational awareness to tell customers where they are in relation to a subway exit and inform them of any outages of nearby elevators or escalators.
• TranSight, by Ash Kamel and Nathan Johnson. TranSight would grade subway lines with a score based on friendliness to the disabled, stop environment, wifi and cellular connectivity, wait time prediction, and on-time performance.
AT&T awarded the winning participants prizes of $500. The awards are designed to encourage the teams to continue their projects and submit their apps for consideration in the App Quest 3.0 contest. All software developers, including those who took part in Developer Day, have until February 3 to build apps and submit them for inclusion in the App Quest 3.0 challenge.
This is the third App Quest challenge. Last year, $40,000 in prize money was awarded to six apps: Citymapper (Grand Prize and MTA Wish List Award),Subculture.FM (Second Prize), Transit App (Third Prize), Accessway (Honorable Mention), Bus NYC (Honorable Mention), and Moovit (People’s Choice Award). For a complete list of the winning apps and what they do, see this press release.