YourMapper’s team at the Hacktucky hackathon took first place with our Next Bus project. SND hosted their international news design conference in Louisville this year, and 5 teams participated in an intense 24 hour hackathon to ship a locally focused product.
The Next Bus, winning product
The Next Bus uses TARC’s real-time bus data, merged with curated local events. Choose the event you like, and when you want to arrive, then get a text message 5 mintues before you need to walk out the door to make the first bus stop based on the bus’s actual location. That’s it – dead simple!
Hacktucky Champs. Photo Diane Hawkins @heydmh
While YourMapper is no stranger to hackathons, hosting a National Day of Civic Hacking event, winning Code for America’s hackathon with SafetyCheck, and hosting Louisville’s first Transportation Camp, our pre-determined team this time included amazing designers and experts. Liz Spangler (designer for The Charlotte Observer) , Amy King (art director at The Washington Post), and Patrick Smith (GIS and urban planning expert at City Collaborative) rounded out the team with YourMapper founder Michael Schnuerle.
SNDlou Closing Gala
The SND coference brought together hundreds of news publication designers, editors, reporters, and managers to Louisville for their annual conference. Next year’s conference will be in Frankfurt Germany, and Louisville was lucky to have it here, thanks to the work of Ryan Hildebrandt. The first annual Hacktucky event was wonderfully orchestrated (I know how hard these can be to organize) by Chris Courtney.
Hacking with the Greats. Photo Amy King.
The other teams were also fantastic, creating things like a real-time emergency alert system, historic sites mapping game, bourbon flight recommendation app, and a sticker/badge attractions site for families. I welcome them to add their details and pitches to the comments in this post.
Our project focussed on a few goals and use cases. Here is our 2 mintue pitch.
The Next Bus offers a creative strategy for promoting more transit use… for better acquainting people with their local bus system, while providing an outlet for spontaneous, spur of the moment urban adventures.
So we have a problem in Louisville, where not enough people are using public transit (the ACS estimates less that 4% of workers commute by bus). Everybody is in their car too much of the time in Louisville, and we wanted to make something that helped impact that.
Some of the issues around this are… some people think riding the bus isn’t cool, some people don’t like the uncertainty of not knowing if their bus is going to be there on time or at all..
The Next Bus shows people how simple and fun it can be to use public transport because we’re connecting real time bus GPS information with a curated list of local events and destinations that capture the unique flavor of Louisville… and then giving them what they need to get on the next bus, get to their closest bus stop and know when the bus is going to be there… so this would linking to events like local theater, gallery openings, music, dinner and drink specials, pop up markets, food truck parkings, etc …
There is an even a text reminder function that lets the user know when they need to walk out the door to get the bus stop in time.
The idea is that local entertainment writers or cultural critics will deploy the tool on their blogs or news organizations web sites, transmitting their daily list of interesting events and things to do to their trusting readers. In terms of the shelf life… local writers could schedule updates that coincide with what their into that week or month…
So we are encouraging ridership, creating an incentive to use local transit… showing people how fun it can be to ride the bus and to get out and discover (or rediscover) some of the great local flavor in your city.
Congrats to our team’s home run of design, functionality, and hard work!
Hackucky Louisville Slugger Champions. Photo Patrick Smith.