Of 2,809 students surveyed from 16 colleges in the Baltimore region, 36 percent chose “better transportation” as the number one missing asset in Baltimore city in the Baltimore Collegetown Network‘s 2012 Student Survey Report. (“Less crime” and “nothing” were numbers two and three, respectively.)
It’s not just students who want better public transit options, if Uber‘s official launch in Baltimore is any indication. Add to that a list of 12 ideas proposed by Eric Hatch, the director of programming for the Maryland Film Festival, to improve this city’s public transportation, and, in journalism, at least, we have a trend.
In response, the first Reinvent Transit hackathon will take place the first weekend of April at Betamore to consider the ways in which tech can tackle Baltimore’s transportation woes. The weekend will be organized similarly to Startup Weekend, with a few key differences. (The biggest? Just $10 to attend, compared with $99 for Startup Weekend.)
- On Friday night, 10 speakers, including cabbies, MTA bus drivers, water taxi drivers, bike commuters and others, will give 10-minute talks on their experiences with transit, either as operators or users
- On Saturday, teams will be formed among the designers, developers and transit operators present. For 24 hours they’ll work together to develop technologically-based, simple solutions to the problems documented Friday night.
- On Sunday night, the finished projects will be judged, and winners will receive prizes (pro-bono legal work, grant money, and so on) that encourage further progress.
The city’s Department of Transportation will also be represented, participating in the weekend and the judging.-30-