This Saturday, New York transit officials, civic-minded technologists, and transportation planners will gather for an unprecedented workshop and competition: the first-ever New York City Bus Data Hackathon.
In partnership with MTA-New York City Transit and NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation, TransitCenter has invited tech- and transportation-savvy New Yorkers to propose more effective routes for local and express buses operating on Staten Island, whose residents endure some of the longest average commute times in the country. Participants will have access to detailed bus route ridership, performance, and population data to craft their proposals.
“For many Staten Islanders, the daily commute continues to go from bad to torturous,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. “With Saturday’s Hackathon, data analysts, transit planners, and others–some Staten Island residents and some not–will get a chance to look at the data and take a crack at generating new and creative proposals to improve the quality of our bus service.” Oddo will attend the event and give opening remarks to commence the day’s proceedings.
The Hackathon is the latest project in TransitCenter’s long-term organizational commitment to improving urban mobility in New York City, where the foundation is based and has its institutional roots. (The initiative is one of our four core program areas, and the only one focused on a specific city.) New York City Transit, which operates over 3,000 buses during rush hour serving more than 700 million annual riders, has a strong transit infrastructure that is naturally poised to benefit from data-driven analysis of current service. Recent bus network redesigns in cities such as Houston and Fort Lauderdale have allowed transit agencies to maximize the usefulness of their existing fleets and provide riders faster and easier transit service. With the goal of achieving similar improvements in New York City, the Hackathon brings to network planning a fun, competitive approach similar to the MTA’s annual App Quest event for transit app developers.
The best solutions for faster, more effective transit on Staten Island–which, despite population growth and changing travel patterns, has not seen its bus network updated in decades–will be rewarded and presented publicly to borough residents at a later date and may inform the MTA’s ongoing Staten Island Comprehensive Bus Study.