SEPTA again challenges app developers

For civic coders, data is the raw material apps are made of.

SEPTA has loads of it.

For the second time in two years, the transit agency is asking local hackers to cook up something useful.

What do want those hackers to fix forSEPTA? Tell us in the comments below.

Last fall, Michael Zaleski, the director of emerging and specialty technology at SEPTA, helped organize the agency’s first “hackathon,” where developers were given free rein.

“Here’s our data,” he said. “What can you do with it?”

Nine projects emerged from the weekend event, with three winning apps all focused on making it easier to navigate the system.

But none of them was actually adopted.

“And so what we’re doing differently this year is we’re actually posing app challenges,” Zaleski said.

Zaleski says there are about a half-dozen challenges SEPTA wants to tackle this year — ranging from an interactive transit map to a mobile app for reporting problems to SEPTA police.

“You know, we have some real needs here, and hopefully some of the folks in the developer community will step up to meet those challenges.”

The hackathon takes place both days this weekend at a co-working space in Northern Liberties.

About 30 developers are expected to attend.

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