MassDOT offers up data for creative hacking

As the Innovation District grows so does the traffic congestion in the area.  PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
As the Innovation District grows so does the traffic congestion in the area.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

State transportation officials are teaming up with the Massachusetts Tech Collaborative to unleash members of the hacking community and data visualization experts in an attempt to create new and innovative ways to understand how people move in Massachusetts.

Rachel Bain, deputy registrar for operations at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, is leading the effort as project manager for big data and visualization. Bain said she considers Friday’s planned “hackathon” a kickoff event to see what innovation sector individuals can offer.

“We’re really just hoping the hacker community will bring some creativity to them,” Bain said. Competitors will use data from MassDOT’s pilot network of roadway sensors that provides real-time information for Routes 93, I-90 and 3. According to the event’s invitation web page, priority will be placed on work that examines differences between driving and taking the train through certain corridors.

Prizes will be awarded for the best projects, with judges looking for the best use of the core data, best use of comparative data sources, interactivity, usability and aesthetic design. There will be $2,000 prizes in the categories of best use of data, most visually compelling and crowd favorite.

The MassDOT Visualizing Transportation Hackathon begins at 6 p.m. Friday at the hack/reduce facility, 275 Third St. in Cambridge and will continue there the next morning. Admission is free. According to Bain, this will be the first in a series of events to continue throughout 2014.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


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