In this year's NYC Big Apps 2.0 competition, there was a lot at stake for the developers behind the 57 app submissions. Not only were they up for cash prizes, but the recognition of their efforts to leverage the city's data mine for the public good was certain to boost their profile in Silicon Alley, and possibly attract bigger investors (or customers!) to their offerings.
For the grand prize winner, Roadify, the increased awareness of their commuter-support platform means big improvements: more people participating and more/better data. The service, which depends on crowdsourced reporting of available parking spaces, bus positioning and subway arrivals along with public data on transit schedules and privately-sourced data on gas or garage pricing, becomes more useful as more users are sending in their information.
Roadify supports 'giving' and 'getting' parking spaces (or updating transit details) via SMS, but it's with the iPhone app that the service really shines. Users can share and check transit information, traffic conditions, gas pricing and more -- plus they can quickly find a parking spot in congested areas. Considering that New York City drivers sometimes find themselves circling and circling in the hopeless search for an open parking spot, any approach to cutting that time will save on gas, reduce pollution and make the Big Apple a happier place.
If you're a frequent or occasional NYC commuter, check out the free Roadify app; you can also watch the Roadify demo video in the continuation of this post.