Riding The Open Data Highway: Hack My Ride 2.0 Innovation In Silicon Valley

Hack my ride hackathon

Against the backdrop of the Code for America Summit taking place in Oakland, a Silicon Valley transit-based hackathon is in voting phase now, with a cool $30,000 up for grabs by the contest’s innovative competitors.

The Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority created the Hack My Ride 2.0 to challenge software developers, computer programmers, interface designers, etc., to create working apps and tools that will share data in ways that make it easier for travelers to plan trips, plus enrich their travel experiences.

The goal is to create technology beyond simple transit trip planners, which are a dime a dozen. In fact, the contest guidelines encourage developers to raise the transit-friendly bar: “We want you to go beyond transit trip planners… to create innovative user experiences that haven’t been tried before. Think about beacons, wearables, mashing up VTA data with other non-transit data, and brilliant data visualizations.”

hack my ride

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s Hack My Ride 2.0
Credits: VTA / Source: Government Technology

The contest serves as an important reminder that getting your data out there is just the first step in unleashing the potential of open data. In reality, most citizens will not interact with data through open data portals, but through apps built on the data those portals make available, making communities of developers critical partners in open data initiatives.

This is the reason we at OpenDataSoft took an API-first approach in designing our platform: yes, make it simple for anyone to publish, explore and visualize data through a portal, but also make it ultra-simple for developers to weave data into innovative applications.

Want to check out the innovative applications created for Hack My Ride 2.0? To find the 12 finalist apps, visit hackmyride2.devpost.com and go to the “submissions” page. Click on an app image to find details and a “vote” button. Voting is open through Oct. 7, at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. The winner will be announced Nov. 3.

Hats off to the hackathon sponsors that include VTA, Microsoft, Knight Foundation and Code for San Jose (a Code for America Brigade), among others.


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