event gathering photo

Applications are open! Party with BetaNYC for National Day of Civic Hacking on Saturday, 21 September.

*By “party” we mean build equitable mobility.

Apply to a challenge and join us at the Mobility for All Abilities Hackathon.

For National Day of Civic Hacking, BetaNYC, NYC Department of Transportation, NYC Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities, NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics, and MakerSpace NYC are challenging New Yorkers to reimagine how all people move around our city streets and sidewalks. Join 100 diverse individuals, organizations, and government stakeholders for a day-long mapathon and civic hacking event to improve mobility equity in NYC.


We identified community needs for mobility equity in NYC with local organizers and stakeholders, and came up with 9 challenges to work on at the hackathon. Come work on meeting them with us and improve how everyone moves around the city.

We are looking for 100 hackers, technologists, makers, problem solvers, mappers and thoughtful citizens to participate on a challenge team and spend the day with civic leaders contributing their skills and learning new ones (like how to map!). Check out the challenges below and apply to join at challenge team at the hackathon.

Need childcare?
We will have free, on-site childcare provided by professional sitters.

This event is part of National Day of Civic Hacking.

Mobility for
All Abilities

Saturday, 21 September 2019
from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

MakerSpace NYC
at Brooklyn Army Terminal
140 58th St Building B, Unit 1C
Brooklyn, NY 11220

No cost, but you must apply and be accepted.

What’s included?
Breakfast, lunch, snacks
and on-site childcare!

Submit your application by
Saturday, 14 September
at 12:00:00 AM (midnight)

Who should apply?

ANYONE! While several challenges are technical in nature, we invite anyone to join them and pick up new #civictech skills. We have two challenges that are oriented around OpenStreetMap. These challenges will teach you how to edit and tag maps within a web browser. Others challenges have specific requests for data scientists and analysts, developers, programmers, designers, cartographers, urban planners, data jammers, social justice warriors, and LGBTQ advocates.

Application Process:
Review the challenges and apply to participate in one by filling out the form at < < https://betanyc.forms.fm/mobility-for-all-abilities-app > >. Applications are open until Saturday, 14 September at 12:00:00 AM (MIDNIGHT).
We will review applications as we receive them and confirm your attendance by email as soon as possible.

Questions? Email kate@beta.nyc

Who will be there?

Challenge Organizers:
NYC Department of Transportation
People for Bikes
NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
New York City Council Member Holden
Crystal Penalosa
Health for Youth
United for Equal Access NY

Event Supporters:
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
NYC Department of Transportation
NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics
NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer
MakerSpace NYC
Transit Center
People for Bikes
Carbon Black via CDW
Variety Coffee

What are the challenges?

Alternative & Inclusive Futures for Mobility

with Crystal Penalosa

Details: Crystal Penalosa (she/they) invites you to a dialogue exploring what it could feel like to freely move throughout public space and get around the city. Outcomes are story maps of your present/future-self’s needs and desires expressed through any medium (drawings, pixels, body movement, astral projection, etc), imagining in fantastical ways that your future body moves through the city using public transit, bicycles, skateboards, scooters, and other forms of personal or collaborative transportation. Join her for a respectful and action-oriented reflection to surface queer perspectives of mobility in NYC. The room will be a safe space to discuss personal vulnerability and growth to use as a shared vision for achieving a bright and inclusive future of mobility. Crystal will also lead a brief mindfulness session at the top of every hour that centers on breathwork.

Who should apply?
This workshop welcomes queer, trans, gender-defying, black, indigenous, people of color (BIPoC), disabled, and migrant folks. Advocates & allies for inclusive transportation and mobility.

Bicycle Mapathon

with the NYC Department of Transportation & People for Bikes

Details: NYC Department of Transportation and People for Bikes challenge you to analyze and improve 300 miles of NYC bicycle infrastructure data available on OpenStreetMap (OSM), the world’s most widely-used mapping platform. Many mapping applications use OSM for their base-map. By improving OSM bike facility data, you will be improving routing in Google Maps and CitiBike app data. Additionally, DOT wants to develop a set of neighborhood stewards. These stewards will help ensure NYC bicycle network data is in OSM as new bicycle facility projects are developed.

Who should apply?
People who are passionate about open data, maps and cycling! The DOT has partnered with People for Bikes to facilitate a bike-focused OpenStreetMaps edit-a-thon. If you have experience using Open Street Maps, we need your skills! If not, come and pick up new skills and become a local OSM steward! This challenge is open to everyone and is an exciting opportunity to learn. (Max # participants: 30)

Bicycle Networks x Redlined Districts

with The Brown Bike Girl

Details: Courtney Williams, aka @BrownBikeGirl, challenges you to examine disparities between bike lane installations in historically redlined NYC neighborhoods and “favorable” blue districts in NYC. In it you’ll explore the extent to which federally-backed race-based community resource planning known as “redlining” has impacted the distribution and sequence of installation of bike lane facilities in NYC.  The goal is to develop measurable statistics that quantify the disparity in the presence and rate of bike lane installation that exists between historically redlined NYC neighborhoods and the blue districts marked “favorable” by the 1930s Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (where private and public financial investment was directed). The desired focus areas are the HOLC districts overlapping present day Brownsville (redlined) and nearby Ditmas Park/Flatbush (favorable), Brooklyn.
Though racially discriminatory lending and housing policy was outlawed with the 1960s Housing Act, anecdotal notions of worthiness and priority established by the segregationist HOLC residential districting continued to color public sensibilities and practices – government resource planners notwithstanding.   The assistance of the hack-a-thon participant to measure miles (of bike lane) per area, uncover the dates of first bike lane installations with districts, and compare the rate of bike lane growth between redlined and “favorable” districts* will 1) either substantiate that bike lane disparity does exist and will continue to pose mobility and health equity threats along racial lines unless proactive strategies are devised by local government, or 2) reveal other patterns regarding bike lane distribution that will allow advocates to redirect focus to uncovering the cause of disparity outside beyond redlining’s influence.
* Using Manhattan districts where the bike network is most established and timelines uninterrupted by bridges will probably yield the best sample size for the timeline comparison of installation.

Who should apply?
Urban planners with expertise in housing, economic development and/or social justice, GIS mappers, Transportation planners, People who can bring an understanding of housing and residential patterns in NYC

Curbside Chaos

Organized by: Open Plans & Coord

Details: OpenPlans and Coord challenge you to make parking citation data more useful. Knowing where vehicles are violating parking rules and regulations can reveal weaknesses in how NYC manages and regulates the curbside, and help decision makers take informed action to reduce congestion caused by delivery trucks and ride-share vehicles. However, right now there is no open place to find citation data by location because it isn’t geocoded. This challenge asks you to identify places where NYC should prioritize changes to its curbside management and regulation. Participants will work on geocoding existing parking citation data from the NYC Open Data Platform and connect it with comprehensive curbside data pulled from Coord’s API.

Who should apply?
GIS Mappers, Developers, Programmers, open data enthusiasts

Mapping NYC’s Sidewalk & Pedestrian Ramps

with NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities & BetaNYC

Details: Over 2.3 million New Yorkers rely on pedestrian ramps to easily transverse our streets. NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and BetaNYC challenge you help digitize 12,000 miles of sidewalks and 320,000+ pedestrian ramps with OpenSidewalks tags. Join this challenge and help digitize the five community boards that have the greatest number of New Yorkers with ambulatory disabilities & build out pedestrian data on OpenStreetMaps, the world’s most widely-used mapping platform.

Who should apply?
Anyone passionate about open data and accessibility! If you have experience using Open Street Maps, that’s great. If not, come and learn some new skills and become an OSM editor! This challenge is open to everyone. (Max # participants: 30)

Reliable Access to Subways

with TransitCenter & United for Equal Access NY

Details: Hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities, parents with strollers, older riders, and many others rely on elevators and escalators to access public transit in NYC. Imagine the disruption to a rider’s commute when someone arrives at a station, depending on the elevator to work to enter or exit that station, and it is out of order. What would you do?
Right now there’s no public accountability mechanism for consistently underperforming subway elevators and escalators experiencing common malfunctions. This is a result of the way in which performance data is collected and then reported. The MTA does not track and report common malfunctions in a way that provides insight for preventive maintenance.

We want to explore *why* elevators and escalators breakdown, and present the data in a way that illuminates patterns and insight into solutions.

Each month NYC Transit submits a report to the MTA Board’s transit committee. The February, May, September, and December editions contain an “Elevator and Escalator Quarterly Performance Summary” with detailed qualitative information of the performance of each elevator with descriptions for the reasons the lowest performers were broken in that period.
This challenge calls on you to catalogue, visualize and analyze the qualitative information contained within these reports to reveal better insight into the reasons elevator and escalators breakdown that can support advocacy efforts and decisions around maintenance and accessibility.
Check out the Elevator and Escalator Performance Dashboard, and the board books located at new.mta.info > transparency > board & committee meetings > meeting materials > NYC Transit Committee books.

Who should apply?
Data wranglers, scrapers, people who can turn pdf data into machine readable formats for visual analysis, people who like to think about data standards and process

Reporting Sidewalk Obstructions

with ChekPeds and Health4Youths

Details: When ChekPeds founder, Martin Treat, became disabled by ALS, he gained firsthand experience of the difficulties that poor sidewalk conditions present to people navigating the streets with disabilities. CheckPeds proposes that sidewalks be treated as “Walk Lanes” and freed up of all the obstructions that currently reduce their width and capacity due to lack of enforcement of existing laws. This challenge asks you to make NYC sidewalks easier to navigate by enabling people to report obstructions and conditions in their way. Drawing from the success of the Reported App, this challenge asks you to help build a mobile app that enables pedestrians and people with disabilities to take a geocoded photograph of a sidewalk obstruction and generate a 311 request that is sent to the appropriate NYC agency and copied to local elected official offices and community boards, as well as your own email address for receipt.
Checkout the Reported App here < https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2019/01/29/the-reported-app-is-reducing-repeatedly-reckless-taxi-driving/ >.

Who should apply?
Developers, UX and interface designers, data architects and analysts, and people with personal experience navigating sidewalks with disabilities.

Tracking Trucks

with District 30 Council Member and Council Technology Chair, Robert Holden

Details: Have you ever witnessed a truck get stuck making a turn and turn a calm street into a stressful state of honking and screaming? A huge obstacle to mobility in NYC is truck congestion. NYC Council Member and Council Tech Chairman, Robert Holden, would like to know how can we limit truck traffic, especially the extra large trucks, while not affecting the delivery of goods to people.  Can you create a way to monitor truck traffic and spot and report 53-foot trailers that illegally zoom around the city?
For inspiration we recommend checking out Alex Bell’s “Cameras as Traffic Cops” project, as well as reviewing Section 385 of NYC’s Vehicle & Traffic Law.

Who should apply? 
Software and machine-learning engineers, developers, creative problem solvers, and commercial vehicle traffic connoisseurs

*DIY Challenge: Mobility Makers*

Organized by YOU!
Supported by BetaNYC & MakerSpace NYC

Details: As we are in a makerspace, BetaNYC & MakerSpace NYC invites you to propose a maker challenge that improves mobility for a community of people. Please see Makerspace NYC’s resources < https://www.makerspace.nyc/bk-makerspace > and tools < https://www.makerspace.nyc/equipment-bk > MakerSpace NYC has on hand. Should your challenge / prototype project be selected, we will connect you to the MakerSpace to make arrangements around tools, supplies, and next steps.

Who should apply?
Anyone who is interested in building, making, creating something at the makerspace.