Boston Launches App Challenge to Link Transit and Bike Share

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When New York wanted to spur developers to create transit apps, it offered up $15,000 in prizes. Boston is dangling free lunch ... and a lot of data.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and MassDOT launched a contest today looking for software applications and data visualizations that "show the power of Boston's transportation options." What that means is: apps that help riders merge their non-car transport, specifically connecting Boston's New Balance Hubway Bike Sharing program with MBTA's existing buses and trains.

The winner gets a free pass on CharlieCard LinkPass, a bike share membership and free admission to area food truck festivals. Before you turn your nose up at lunch truck tacos, consider that Boston's MBTA and MassDOT has already held two developers challenges yielding about 50 apps. Boston's transit system shares real time data on bus and train locations so there's a lot to work with. The New Balance Hubway Bike Share also offers real time data on which bike docks are full and which aren't, so it will be interesting to see what that bevy of multi-modal real time location information can facilitate. Assuming, developers are lured in by the yummy prizes.