Why is the MTA holding the MTA App Quest challenge?

The MTA’s 8.5 million daily riders benefit when they have access to great apps that improve their transit experience. MTA App Quest is designed to encourage and recognize developers who create new transit apps using MTA data.

What are the criteria for the winning applications?

Software applications must utilize at least one MTA dataset and will be judged on Quality (including creativity and originality of the idea), Implementation (including how well the idea was executed, user experience and design), and Potential Impact on the transit experience of MTA riders. Popular Choice Awards will be awarded to the two apps that receive the most votes from visitors to the challenge site. The Sponsor or Administrator may disqualify Submissions that contain inappropriate content or violate the intellectual property rights of others. Please see the Official Rules for further details.

Do I retain intellectual property ownership?

By submitting an app to MTA App Quest, you do not transfer any intellectual property rights to the sponsor of the competition (MTA) or the competition administrator (ChallengePost). However, the sponsor and administrator will have the right to post your submission and identify you by name on and on the MTA App Center during the competition and for 12 months after its conclusion.

If I charge for my app, is it still eligible for MTA App Quest?

Yes, you may make your app free or charge for it, and have in-app advertising or not. The goal is to have you create apps that improve the transit experience of MTA riders.

In addition to the MTA data, can I use the MTA logo, maps, subway route symbols and or other MTA intellectual property in my app?

Yes, but you are required to obtain a license from the MTA prior to the start of judging and public voting and prior to marketing your app. The license is only required if you choose to use protected MTA intellectual property such as MTA agency names/logos, maps, signage, and subway route symbols. This license is royalty-free for apps dowloadable for free (inluding ad-supported apps). However, there is a royalty for apps using protected MTA IP if the end user is charged a fee to download the app. See the Official Rules for details and follow the instuctions to request a license here.

Can more than one person work on an application and receive credit for it? And if the app wins a prize, how will the prize money be split among the creators?

Yes, teams are encouraged. If a team of individuals, a corporation or an organization is selected as a prize winner, the administrator will divide the prize equally among the team members identified at the time of submission. It will be up to the winning team or organization to reallocate the prize money, if they deem it appropriate.

Can I enter more than one application?

Yes. There is no limit to how many times an eligible person or organization may enter. An individual may also participate on behalf of more than one team, corporation, or nonprofit organization. However, each submission must, at the sole discretion of the MTA and Sponsor, be substantially different from a Contestant’s other submissions. If similar submissions are received, only the first app submitted will be entered into the Competition.

Does my app need to have store approval prior to the submission deadline?

No, but your app should be submitted to the relevant app store for review by the submission deadline. For iPhone apps or apps developed for other platforms that are not easily shared on the web before store approval, you may submit your working software app using a web framework designed for those platforms (such as PhoneGap), and provide the required link to a video of your working application. The Competition Administrator may request access to the application in person or via device UDID provisioning to verify any criteria about your application.

Who is eligible to enter the competition and from what countries?

MTA App Quest is open to legal residents over 18 years of age and corporations or organizations in the United States and its territories (except where prohibited).

Do the submitted apps have to be newly created for this competition, or can they be pre-existing applications?

A submission must either be a new application or, if the application is not new, have incorporated new MTA data after the start of the competition Submission Period. Apps that are substantially similar to apps submitted to previous software competitions are not eligible. Apps that are already featured in the MTA App Center will be eligible if they incorporate new MTA data after the start of the competition Submission Period and a subsequent or upgraded version is then submitted. All submissions must comply with all of the requirements outlined in the Official Rules, including that they must utilize at least one MTA dataset.

How do I enter?

To enter, you must do the following:

  1. Access MTA data by clicking here and check out the Resources page.
  2. Create a working software application that uses MTA data.
  3. Create an account between 10 AM EST July 11, 2011 and 5 PM EST November 21, 2011, confirm that you have read and agree to the Official Rules, and submit your application by including a link, video, text description, and image of your working application.
How do I follow the MTA App Quest challenge and get updates?

Sign up and click “Follow” to receive email updates. Follow us on Twitter @MTAAppQuest

Who can I contact if I have questions about the Apps for MTA challenge?

Email us at

Is my submission required to use MTA data?

Yes, for your submission to be eligible for MTA App Quest it must utilize at least one MTA dataset. You may, in addition, use other public agency data or other data, provided you have the right to use it.

How do I get access to the MTA data?

You can access MTA data here.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the MTA data?

Post technical questions to the MTA Developer Resources Google Group here.