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MTA Unleashes 49 Smartphone Apps, Wants You to Decide Which is the Best

A competition to generate mobile apps for commuters who use the LIRR and other transit services has entered its final phase.

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In partnership with AT&T, the Metropolitan Transit Authority has released 49 mobile apps as part of its App Quest virtual challenge to help commuters on Long Island and New York City navigate the transit system with greater ease and efficiency. The competition began in early May with a weekend “hackathon,” and participants were giving a few extra months to flesh out their applications before making them available to the public.

Now the MTA has put the fruit of their labors in various smartphone app stores, and is asking users to test them out then vote on their favorites. Developers are competing for $40,000 in prizes, including a $20,000 grand prize and $1,000 Popular Choice winner. $10,000 was already awarded during the May hackathon.

Apps include Subway Fun Finder, which helps travelers find restaurants and local hot spots by their proximity to over 400 subway stations in New York City; Buzz Journey which can map out routes along multiple forms of transit accounting for real time delays and traffic; My LIRR Trip which can help navigate train schedules and share itineraries with family and friends; and Subwalkway, which tells commuters when it’s time to start walking to make their ride on schedule, and can navigate them to the nearest terminal if they don’t know how to get there.

“New Yorkers are always on the go and these apps will help connect riders to the information they need to improve their commutes,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President for AT&T.

“We are very pleased that so many app developers have dedicated their time and energy toward creating apps that aim to help our customers,” added MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “Now the public gets to decide which ones they think are the best. We encourage all MTA customers to take a look at the apps, and vote.”

The contest comes shortly after Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T partnered with Transit Wireless and the MTA to bring cell service to New York City’s subways. “Innovation and accessibility to mobile technology is at the core of our partnership with the MTA – first through the addition of underground cellular service on 36 subway platforms and now, through our work to encourage new mobile tools to improve riders’ commutes. We are truly excited by the enthusiastic response to this challenge and look forward to hearing from New Yorkers as they vote for their favorite app,” said Shorenstein.

In addition to public voting, a panel of judges will select the best apps from the 49 offerings. Those judges include General Assembly Co-Founder Matt Brimer, Chief Data Officer of the New York State Office of Information Technology Services Barbara Cohn, Chief Digital Officer of New York City Rachel Haot, and , Principle of NYC Seed Brian Malkerson.

Voting is open now and will continue through September 10; users can pick their favorites by visiting the program’s official website and clicking on the submissions.

[Source: MTA]