MTA awards $15,000 in prizes in app contest

A train arrives to the Astor Place station early Friday, Dec. 16, 2005 in New York. (AP Photo/ Dima Gavrysh)

February 2, 2012 10:44:10 AM PST
The MTA awarded $15,000 in prizes Thursday to the winners in its phone app competition.

The winner of the grand prize was Embark NYC, an all-purpose transit navigation app for Androids and Apple iOS devices that offers trip planning, service advisories, interactive maps, schedules and more. The app was built by Taylor Malloy and David Hodge of Embark. It was one of 42 apps that were submitted as part of the competition, which began last July.

The second prize was awarded to Free NYC Subway Locator, by Jordan Hill of Flatiron Factory. The app, available for Apple iOS devices, automatically calculates the nearest subway entrances to your current location and lists them by direction, in order of proximity by feet. The app also shows the individual station entrance locations, service alerts, and elevator and escalator outages, all using data provided by the MTA.

Third prize was awarded to Notify Me NYC, by Emma Assin and Felipe Flores of the Cortelyou Collective. This app, for Android, notifies you if your subway, Metro-North or LIRR train is experiencing service problems, based on the times of day and days of week you ride.

A panel of nine expert judges evaluated all 42 apps in terms of quality of the idea (including creativity and originality), implementation of the idea (including design), and potential impact on MTA riders. MTA App Quest was powered and co-sponsored by ChallengePost, a global marketplace for challenges and community-driven innovation.

The contest also featured two Popular Choice Awards that were determined based on 42 days of public voting. The Popular Choice Award Grand Prize was awarded to the CityMaps app at developed by Christopher Winfield, which combines real-time information about local businesses with subway information about how to reach them.

Popular Choice Award Second Prize was awarded toRight Track: Metro North by David Waring, which allows Android users to get quick access to Metro-North schedules, real-time status updates and track assignments.

MTA App Quest also offered a special Large Organization Award, presented to bigger corporations working on apps, to Slalom Consulting for NYC Station Finder, which allows iPhone users to find station entrances with an augmented reality station finder.

Five other apps won honorable mentions. They were:

  • Annadale: Staten Island Train & Ferry by Mike Raney, which bridges the gap between Staten Island and transit in the rest of the city by presenting Staten Island Railway and Staten Island Ferry schedules so that they become one seamless entity.

  • Art by Subway NYC by Matthew Vincent, a pocket reference guide for iPhone or iPod Touch for discovering the commissioned artworks within the subway.

  • NYC Travel by Fernando Garza and Chevon Christie, a multi-purpose travel app for Windows Phone 7 with full system and individual line maps, service updates, and a subway locator.

  • OnBoard by Reed Martin. This app serves as your on-bus dashboard, following along with you to show you upcoming stops, estimated arrival times, and where to transfer, how long you'd wait for a transfer, and even cool stuff along the way like food, clothes and your friends.

  • Right Track: Metro-North by David Waring, which also won the popular choice second prize as noted above.

    All award winners received cash prizes ranging from $500 for honorable mention to $5,000 for the grand prize winner.


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