Janet Babin, Host, WNYC News
Janet Babin is a host and reporter at WNYC.
The winner of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s competition for the best smartphone software applications for riders is Embark.
The company created Embark NYC, a multi purpose navigation app for use with an iPhone or Android phone that can help subway riders plan trips, see subway schedules for their particular route and has an interactive map of the subway system.
David Hodge and Ian Leighton of Embark worked with two others to create the free application. “It even works underground, while you’re in the subway,” Hodge said.
The winners were fêted at a ceremony at Grand Central Terminal. But MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said the real beneficiaries of the app contest are transit riders. “It’s pretty clear who the real winners are: all of us—the riding public—the 8.5 million people who use our system every single day and now have more tools to make those trips easier and more rewarding,” Lhota said.
The second prize was awarded to Free NYC Subway Locator, created by Jordan Hill of Flatiron Factory. His app lets users find the nearest subway stop to wherever they are. But it’s only currently available on the iPhone.
Hill said it took months to complete. “I’ll spend next summer developing the Subway Locator for the Android,” Hill joked.
The contest also featured winners voted on by the public. The top spot for the popular choice award went to CityMaps, an app developed by Christopher Winfield. It combines real-time information about local businesses with subway information about how to reach them.
One of the honorable mention apps, called Art by Subway NYC, lets iPhone or iPad users discover commissioned artworks within the subway system. Another app, named Annadale, links iPhone users with the Staten Island Ferry and Staten Island Railway schedules so that they become one seamless entity.
All forty-two new apps can be found on the MTA’s App Quest website.
Winners received anywhere from $5,000 to $500.