What would you do with real-time GTFS data for railroads and subways, Beacon technology, and a database full of historical data to boot?

Make a New York transit app that’s three times better for every type of transit rider, of course! 

New York State’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and AT&T are proud to announce that App Quest is back for a third year and it’s better than ever! We’re challenging developers from across the globe to use MTA’s broad set of data and APIs – including some brand new, exclusive data – to create apps that will wow New Yorkers and the world!

Think you’ve got what it takes to create a winning app? Check out the Rules and Resources tabs for full requirements and app ideas.


This challenge is open to: 

  • Individuals at least 18 years of age at the time of entry; Teams of eligible individuals; Organizations (up to 50 employees).
  • Organizations with over 50 employees may compete for the non-cash Large Organization Recognition Award.


API/Data: Submitted apps must use at least one of the MTA data sets or APIs available at http://mta.info/developers/ or on the Resources page, and include the ability to update/refresh the data.

Prize Categories: Your submitted app must be submitted into one of the two prize categories: Accessibility Innovation or Consumer/Transit Rider Apps. In addition to the category-specific prizes, eligible apps in either track may also qualify for the Best Crowdsourcing App, Best Data Visualization App, Best Way-Finding Application for Novice Transit Riders, and Popular Choice awards. Check out the Resources page and Official Rules for details.

Eligible Platforms:

  • Smartphone or tablet (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Kindle, Windows Phone)
  • Web (mobile or desktop)
  • Desktop (Windows PC, Mac Desktop)
  • Software running on other hardware (including, but not exclusive to, wearable technology, open source hardware, etc.)
  • Custom hardware which includes a software component (wearable technology, etc.)

Supplemental Material: You must submit a demo video (hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or Youku) that walks through the main functionality of the solution via screencast or video. You must also submit at least one image/screenshot of your working solution.

New & Existing Solutions: Apps may be newly created or pre-existing. If the submitted app existed prior to the competition’s submission start date, it must be, at the sole discretion of the contest judges, substantially different from the previous version and must integrate at least one new MTA data or APIs not found in the previous version.

MTA Intellectual Property: If, in addition to including MTA data and/or APIs, your submission uses any MTA’s copyrighted property, such as subway, bus, and rail maps, or MTA trademarks, such as subway symbols or MTA agency names, a written license from MTA for such use must be obtained. To request a license, go to http://web.mta.info/developers/license.html.

Hackathon Sponsors


$50,000 in prizes

Grand Prize: Best Accessibility App for Disabled MTA Customers

$10,000 cash

Grand Prize: Best Consumer/Transit Rider App

$7,500 cash

Runner-Up Prize: Best Accessibility App for Disabled MTA Customers

$7,500 cash

Runner-Up Prize: Best Consumer/Transit Rider App

$5,000 cash

Best Data Visualization App

$5,000 cash. See Resources page for requirements.

Best Crowdsourcing App

$5,000 cash. See Resources page for requirements.

Best Way-Finding Application for Novice Transit Riders

$5,000 cash. See Resources page for requirements.

Popular Choice

$5,000 cash.

Honorable Mention

Large Organization Recognition Award

Non-cash, recognition only

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Marissa Shorenstein

Marissa Shorenstein
President of AT&T New York

Barbara L. Cohn

Barbara L. Cohn
Chief Data Officer, New York State

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton

Scott Heiferman

Scott Heiferman
Founder/CEO of Meetup

Michael Salvato

Michael Salvato
Executive Program Manager, Enterprise Asset Management at MTA

Rachel Haot

Rachel Haot
Chief Digital Officer and Deputy Secretary of Technology for New York State

Brad Hargreaves

Brad Hargreaves
Co-Founder of General Assembly

Andrew Nicklin

Andrew Nicklin
Director of Open NY

Omar Usmani

Omar Usmani
Executive Partner, AEON NEXUS

Judging Criteria

  • Quality of Idea
    Includes creativity and originality of the idea, and potential to improve the transit experience for MTA riders.
  • Implementation of Idea
    Includes how well the idea was executed by the developer and how well the app integrates with the MTA public data and APIs.
  • Potential Impact
    Includes the extent to which the submission will impact MTA customers and the New York transit experience.

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