The second edition of the transportation data hack-a-thon, to be held on Sunday, February 10, 2013 was canceled due to Winter Storm Nemo! We apologize for the inconvenience caused. More information about 2014 data hack-a-thon will be posted here.

The MIT Transportation data hack-a-thon is an event where talents with different skill sets gather and develop projects using trasportation-related data. The hack-a-thon theme is transportation in Boston/Cambridge areas. Many interesting data sets are available exclusively for this event.

Why hack transportation?

With todays advanced information technology, a massive amount of transportation-related data is generated continuously through traffic sensors, fare gates, smart phones, social media and so on. Meaningful use of these data can greatly benefit every stakeholder, including transportation agencies, urban planners, policy makers, commuters and most importantly, the society. The utilization of these data is, however, limited by inadequate understanding of how the data can be used; lack of data integration across businesses and organizations; and incompetence to handle complexity of the data.

The objective of the Hack-a-thon is to encourage innovative use of transportation-related data and demonstrate its impacts to the public. Data hack-a-thon has been proven to be an effective way to attract talents to unleash their creativity and collaboratively develop applications, visualizations, or information graphics within a very short time.


  • To encourage innovative use of transportation-related data and demonstrate its impacts to the public.
  • To establish interdisciplinary collaboration among students and research collaboration with the industry.
  • To expand the transportation student community.

How does it work?

Participants, preferably in a team of 3 to 5 with different skill sets, develop a project using data sets that are publicly available or provided by our sponsors. A project can be, but not limited to, the following:

  • A mobile application that provides useful (real-time) transportation-related information and/or makes daily commutes a better experience.
  • A visualization (image, animation, video footage, or interactive application) that highlights key information from complex data set(s) and facilitates understanding of transportation system performance or transportation demand.
  • An information graphic (tables, charts, etc.) that nicely displays interesting statistics obtained from thorough analysis and fusion of data.

Each team presents their work at the end of the event, and a panel of experts selects the winners.


This event aims to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among students. In particular, we expect the following groups of students to participate in the competition. - Programmer/Software Developer: develop application - Designers/Architects: design visualization, user interface and statistical presentation - Engineers/Statisticians: crunch, mine, and analyze data

2012 Edition

Watch the presentations from the 2012 Hack-a-thon on MIT Tech TV!


  • (0:00) ServAPI — Rob Mcqueen, Anake Sano.
  • (14:46) Wheres my T? — Gal Koren.
  • (19:20/33:27) CollabCab — Hamed Ghoddusi, James Mullen, Jameson Toole, Michael Winston, Jessica Yurkofsky. Honorable Mention.
  • (26:55) Pack Your Knapsack — Iain Dunning, David Fagnan, Stephen Brown, Adam White, Yangbo Du. Winner.
  • (37:55) Smoothy: Changing Traffic for the Better — Cathy Wu, Leo Urbina, Pranjal Vachaspati, Stanislav Nikolov. Honorable Mention.
  • (51:45) Hubway Analysis — Alice Brown, Josh Westerhold.
  • (58:23) Flight Search Patterns: Communication and Stories — Anjuli Jain Figueroa, Cuicui Chen, Clio Andris. 1st Runner-up.
  • (1:10:39) How Taxis Fare: Valuing Your Time In Transit — Susie Chung Criscimagna, Mark Criscimagna.
  • (1:21:27) Fragile Trends: A quick look at Boston Air Search Data — Akhil Kuduvalli, Lita Das.
  • (1:31:00) Visualizing Hubway — Afian Anwar.