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DOT Data Innovation Challenge attracts talented field

DOT Data Innovation Challenge attracts talented field

In February, Secretary Foxx launched DOT's Data Innovation Challenge, a three-month quest to see what app developers could do to improve transportation by taking advantage of new access to multiple sources of transportation data. Today, I'm happy to announce the results of our challenge. While we had numerous submissions, we narrowed the field down to three final winners.

Photo of Secretary Foxx with Data Challenge winners at White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Secretary Foxx with Data Challenge winners at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Photo courtesy USDOT, Larry Simmons.

In the category of Transportation Access, we sought apps that show how transportation connects people to jobs, schools, housing, and other community resources. And our judges determined two winners:

  • RideScout -- a mobile app that provides available transportation options in real time including transit, taxi, car share, bike share, parking, and walking directions; and
  • Choices & Voices -- a web-based, long range planning tool that educates users on the linkages between land use and transportation, the cost of maintenance, and the consequences of not investing in transportation.

In the Traffic and Congestion Management category, we were looking for tools that help understand and reduce traffic. Our judges picked:

  • FAST Dashboard -- a congestion analytics dashboard that provides an easy-to-understand online user interface allowing the public and transportation professionals access to real-time and historical freeway monitoring and performance data.
Photo of RideScout representatives taking a selfie with Secretary Foxx
RideScout team taking a selfie with Secretary Foxx. Photo courtesy USDOT, Larry Simmons.

But our challenge review team didn't stop there. They also recommended three other submissions, the first two of which were entered in our all-important Transportation Safety category:

  • InSight Data - a web application that allows transportation safety professionals to explore and access data being disseminated from the 2nd Strategic Highway Research Program's Naturalistic Driving Study.
  • KeepTruckin -- a mobile application electronic logbook that helps commercial drivers keep track of their hours of service and safety rest periods.
  • TAP -- a transit data analytics tool --entered in the Traffic and Congestion Management category-- that integrates transit reporting, tracking, and performance.

Web banner for the D.O.T. Data Innovation Challenge

Of course, we at DOT congratulate every one of these seven teams, and we urge readers to visit their websites to learn more about these terrific ideas and applications. Thanks also to everyone who submitted an entry for their participation and for helping to make this Data Innovation Challenge such a success.

But no one at DOT or in the transportation community would let me end without also emphasizing that we have miles to go before we sleep.

The data is there, and every day there are more and more datasets--from federal agencies to state DOTs to cities--that will allow app developers to put more and more useful tools into the hands of everyday users, regional planners, and transportation agencies. It's time to harnass the power of that data to improve the way we move ourselves and our goods.

As Secretary Foxx noted earlier this year, "We need to continue investing in infrastructure, but we also need to make better use of the resources we already have, and one of the most valuable resources we have is data. Although good transportation apps have been created, a nation like ours can do more."

Our Data Innovation Challenge is a good start; let's keep going.

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