Create A Transit App - $50K In Prizes
Written by Alex Armstrong   
Saturday, 18 May 2013

MTA App Quest is a global online contest to provide solutions that will help improve the daily commute of those using New York State's Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Increasingly governments and governmental bodies are using contests and competitions to ask developers, individuals as well as organizations, to come up with imaginative and innovative solutions to real world problems.


The challenge in this case is to, that is to change the way 8.5 million people commute every day improve the travel experience for MTA riders with an app for Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows Phone, or the mobile web.

The judges will be looking for the creativity and originality of the idea and how well the idea was implemented. The only specific requirement is that it uses at least one MTA data set and/or the MTA API. There is also an MTA Wish List outlining areas of special concern - but it is possible to win a prize without addressing one of these topics.

The organizers explain:

With the expansion of underground wireless, plus the availability of new real-time data from the MTA, this is a critical moment for the creation of new apps for MTA riders. App Quest reinforces the statewide OpenNY initiative to make government data more open, more accessible, and more transparent.

Following a recent NYC-based hackathon to kick off the App Quest it is now open to all comers (apart from those in territories where it is against the law to participate in US-based contests) with a submission deadline of August 20 at 5:00pm EDT.

Using the the submission form supplied you need to provide access to your app, screenshots of it in operation and a video (You Tube or Vimeo) demonstrating it.

Participants in the hackathon can enter the virtual competition with the same app. Other apps that are not newly created for this competition need to be extended by the new MTA datasets or APIs.

The MTA App Quest is hosted on Challenge Post, a website that enables government agencies and software companies to invite the public to solve problems. In addition to submitting entries, you can follow a challenge and join discussions.


Cash prizes in the competition can be won by individuals, teams and organizations of less than 50 people; larger organizations can enter and compete for the Large Organization Recognition Award.

$10,000 in prizes have already been awarded to the best three submissions to the Hackathon and the remaining prizes are:

  • Best Overall - Grand Prize $20,000
  • Best Overall - 2nd Prize    $10,000
  • Best Overall - 3rd Prize     $ 5,000
  • Honorable Mention (2)       $ 1,000
  • Popular Choice                 $ 1,000    

All seventeen Hackathon submissions are included in Application Gallery. The winners were !st ($5,000) SubCulture.FM; 2nd ($3,000) MTA Sheriff; 3rd ($2,000) Accessway.



More Information

MTA App Quest

Challenge Post

Related Articles

Build A Better America With Civic Hacking

Civic Apps Competition Handbook 


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Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 May 2013 )