Nearly a dozen small teams launched projects dedicated to improving SEPTA service during the second annual Apps for SEPTA hackathon earlier this month.
The event, hosted by Devnuts in Northern Liberties and in partnership with the transit agency, introduced a variety of applications, including one featuring an interactive way to browse transit lines, a simulator for SEPTA staff to test changes in train and bus schedules and a Foursquare app that allows users to see upcoming trains as soon as they check-in to a station.
Prizes were awarded to the three best, judged by new City Chief Data Officer Mark Headd, SEPTA Customer Service rep George Spellman, Startup Digest curator Yuriy Porytko and Next American City’s Diana Lind.
After the jump, descriptions and video of all that participated.
VagueRouter — First Place
This clever map implementation, which won first place at the hackathon, allows a user to ‘browse’ the transit system by dropping a circle on a Philadelphia map to see all of the bus and train lines that connect to that limited geographic area. Demo it here. Says the app’s author, David Middlecamp, who was in town from the Midwest, “if I still lived in Philly, I would absolutely use this.”
SeptaSim — Second Square
A requested app from SEPTA officials which took second place in the competition, this tool will allow the real-time simulation of transit schedules, allowing someone to adjust train and bus schedules and see how it affects the flow of traffic. Someone from the audience quipped: “how much are you going to charge SEPTA to use it?”
SeptaSquare — Third Square
Taking advantage of Foursquare’s Apps Platform, this tool allows SEPTA riders to see transit schedules as soon as they check-in to a train station with FourSquare. Bus stops, the number of which is much larger in scale than train stops, are harder to pin down, but developers are working on it. The app took third place.
This app conceptualized a new mobile experience for SEPTA schedules.
SEPTAlert sends automatic text messages warning about delays to users that are subscribed to particular bus and train routes.
Chief Data Officer and hackathon judge Mark Headd showed off his on-going SEPTA voice project, which allows callers to check-in on train schedules via phone.
This project introduced a QR-code based advertising and billboard system that would associate bus and train stops with QR codes to make it easy to find information about schedules and real-time delays.
A useful tool that allows users to find all of the locations that sell SEPTA tokens, stripping information from the SEPTA website.
Dalton Banks presented a prototype that would allow riders to coordinate with those who might be picking them up at train stations.