Innovative Ideas

to Address Bay Area’s Transportation Challenges


After a weekend of coding, data analysis, and more coding, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) awarded prizes to three teams of participants in a two-day Connected Car Hackathon on April 9 and 10. The hackathon, presented by MTC in partnership with Automatic Labs Inc. and sponsored by Numenta, Lyft, Arup, TomTom, Qualcomm, Prospect Silicon Valley and Caltrans, produced a number of innovative app ideas to help meet regional mobility challenges.

Teams convened at MTC’s headquarters in Oakland, working for two days to develop apps and tools to encourage smart driving and/or solve transportation and mobility challenges. Using real-time data generated by drivers whose automobiles are equipped with Automatic’s car adapter and an app, participants explored ideas ranging from carpooling, gamification strategies and addressing parking woes. Prizes were awarded in four categories.

Three app submissions were evaluated by a panel of five judges who scored the apps based on the quality, potential impact and implementation of the idea. The judges awarded the third place, runner-up and Grand Prize winners, while those following the hackathon online and observing in person voted for their favorite submission to decide the Popular Choice Award winner.

The Grand Prize was awarded to “Tripster”, a web app that uses historical data collected by Automatic to evaluate a driver’s transportation impact over time. Grand Prize winners Sandra Lennie and Joel Pobar, who developed Tripster, received a custom 3-D printed Connected Car Hackathon trophy in addition to $600 in Clipper or FasTrak® value and an Automatic car adapter. Tripster also was chosen as the Popular Choice Award winner.

The runner-up submission is a desktop app called “parkingBuddy” that tells users about the availability of parking in nearby parking garages. The app was developed by Calvin Settachatgul, Nathan Webster and Terri Wong. Jose Pacheco received the third place award for his SMS-based app — Hard_Brake_Notification — that sends drivers a text message with their braking information in order to encourage smart driving. The runner-up and third place winners received a custom Connected Car Hackathon Award, an Automatic car adapter and $300 and $150, respectively, in Clipper or FasTrak value. Complete details on the event and each submission are available at

“It’s amazing to see what coders and developers can come up with in such a short amount of time,” said Connected Vehicles Program Manager Virginia Lingham. “This event will help us shape the Connected Vehicles Program as we move forward.”

MTC’s Connected Vehicle Program, “Catapult Bay Area,” provides support to local agencies interested in deploying connected vehicles, automated vehicles and autonomous vehicles to improve safety, mobility and the environment through innovation and technology.

MTC is the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area’s transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency. MTC is committed to finding ways to inform drivers about how to improve their driving habits, vehicle performance and reduce emissions.

Automatic is a San Francisco-based technology company empowering drivers by bridging the gap between the car and the connected world.