MTA Asks Public to Vote for Best App

What's the most useful transit-related app out there? The MTA needs your help to find out! Through January 11, the public is invited to comment and vote on 42 apps that were submitted to MTA App Quest, a competition in which app developers are vying for cash prizes and the bragging rights that come with being voted the most popular choice among New York train and bus riders. The MTA will regularly feature the submitted apps on its homepage. Each day, the MTA's official Twitter feed, @MTAInsider, and its Facebook page, will link to one of the apps entered in the contest.

AppQuest Logo

The votes from the transit-riding public will dictate the outcome of the competition's two "Popular Choice" awards. The winner of the Popular Choice Award Grand Prize will receive $2,000 and a package of MTA-licensed products valued at $170. The winner of the Popular Choice Award Second Prize will receive $1,000 and a package of MTA-licensed products valued at $84. ChallengePost, a global marketplace for challenges and community-driven innovation, is powering and co-sponsoring MTA App Quest with the MTA. The MTA is not contributing financially to the prize money pool.

"We're thrilled at the partnership that has developed with the tech community to bring new innovations to our riders at no cost to the MTA," said MTA Executive Director Joseph J. Lhota. "We've got a great crop of apps and we can't wait to see which ones the public likes best."

To view video demonstrations of each of the 42 apps that have been submitted, to vote and provide comments, transit riders can go to this website: Visitors to that page will also have the option of downloading the submitted apps, which in many cases can be done free of charge.

At the same time as the public voting period, the panel of nine official judges will be reviewing the apps in order to determine the contest's overall winners. They are:

  • Jen Chung, Executive Editor, Gothamist, and Co-Founder, Gothamist LLC
  • Jeff Ferzoco, Creative and Technology Director, Regional Plan Association
  • Mark Gorton, Founder and Chairman, OpenPlans, and Founder, Tower Research Capital LLC
  • Wael Hibri, Chief Enterprise Information Officer, MTA
  • Noel Hidalgo, Director of Engagement Technologies, World Economic Forum
  • Cas Holloway, Deputy Mayor for Operations, City of New York
  • Benjamin Kabak, 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

In addition to this competition, the MTA has also recently undertaken a number of efforts to expand access to digital information and improve its quality. The MTA has activated of countdown clocks in many subway stations, is preparing to greatly expand real-time bus tracking, has overhauled its website and posted schedule and other data online in machine readable format, introduced a special website on weekends better highlighting changes to subway lines, and more.

Transportation has proven to be a special area of interest among app developers. A broad apps competition held in the spring by the City of New York, Big Apps 2.0, was won by Roadify, an app that helps bus riders pinpoint the real-time expected time of arrival for upcoming buses.