Hack-a-thon

Wednesday night we made our way a few miles north for an exciting evening in Philadelphia. Six teams (both solo and group entries) came out for our Future of the Commute: TrafficCast Design Challenge to pitch their innovative commuter solutions. Our panel of judges included UI/UX designers, the CTO of AAA, and TrafficCast’s leader of Product Strategy, Gil Edwards.

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The event was the brainchild of Al McGowan, TrafficCast CEO, and Tariq Hook, Executive Director of Zip Code Coding Academy. Given that TrafficCast and Zip Code now share a address, Al and Tariq were looking for a way for both organizations to engage with the community and pick the brains of the area’s top coding talent. At the start of the night, Tariq joked that these sort of “Hack-a-thon” events usually play out the same way: Take a bunch of coders, gorge them with Red Bull and pizza, and lock them in a room until something exceptional emerges. As planned, last night was a refreshing departure from that tradition. Participants, judges, and spectators mixed it up around good food, cocktails, and gelato on the 12th floor of the Curtis Center overlooking downtown Philly.

Our hope for the night was to field some simple, creative ideas we could implement into our TrafficCarma app to enhance our users’ experience. We were not disappointed. Each team brought something truly unique to the table–from carpooling features to vehicle servicing notifications. And while ideas were diverse, all remained focused on the need to keep the app beautiful, functional, and safe. We really couldn’t have been happier with what we heard and for that reason no team leave empty-handed. Our youngest participant, Dorcas Olatunji, age 15, even walked away with a scholarship offer from Tariq in addition to her 3rd place $1,000 prize. Taking first place and $5,000 was Raghav Hardas for his ideas to implement an alarm clock based on traffic conditions and to connect the app with Siri and Alexa for hands-off interaction.

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We find ourselves in unique times in the transportation industry. It’s heartening to know how much talent is out there to take on the challenges marking the future of mobility. The landscape is in constant flux and the best coders are those that stay just as fluid. Creativity and adaptability are the hallmarks of innovation and there was no shortage of either Wednesday night.

Incredible things happen everyday in the world of transportation. Follow us on Twitter for the latest and greatest.  

– Jake Ritzheimer  

TrafficCast International, East Coast Operations

TrafficCast Design Challenge Decided Tomorrow

Fabulous Prizes totaling $10,000 will be awarded tomorrow at TrafficCast’s Design Challenge Event at the Curtis Center in historic Philadelphia! The contest, hosted with Technical.ly, asks participants to brainstorm original and innovative ideas to power a consumer facing mobility solution for commuters and daily travellers.

Contestants submitted proposals to meet a Friday deadline last week, and at tomorrow’s event, finalists get the chance to pitch their idea to industry experts and an audience of other coders and like-minded technicians. During their pitches, contestants will explain how their submissions  include Positive User Benefits, Features, How to Balance Driving Centric Features with Driver Safety and Mobile Distractions, and What Makes This Platform Stand Out from other Apps?

Happy Hour drinks and snacks accompany the pitches, prizes and networking. Find out who wins the Design Challenge tomorrow, June 27, from 5 – 7, at 601 Walnut St, #1200 West.

 

A Look into Our Future at Our Open House

Our Open House this past Wednesday June 20 was a total success and we couldn’t have asked for a better turnout. We’ve been in Wilmington, DE nearly four months, but after welcoming all these new friends into our space it feels like we’ve truly arrived. It was a great opportunity to show off not just where we work, but how. Our CEO, Al McGowan, kicked things off by giving attendees a demonstration of our traffic data gathering and curating processes. Noting our use of road sensors to track travel speeds and our operators’ investigation process, he broke down how we’re able to catch and report incidents to drivers within moments of their happening.al

Al also gave a glimpse of TrafficCast’s future expansion into the autonomous vehicle sector. The same road sensor technology tracking traffic will foster future vehicle-to-infrastructure (v2i) communications, allowing cars to “talk’’ with the surrounding environment. This innovation will have major implications in traffic safety and efficiency, alerting driver to congestion, construction, road conditions, and more.

Exciting stuff is in store and we find ourselves on the cutting edge of technology that will transform not only traffic, but modern life as we know it. We’re beyond excited to dive headfirst into the future and we count ourselves lucky to be part of a community that shares our pioneering spirit. Thank you again to all who attended and everyone at our new workspace, The Mill, for making such a great night possible.

Incredible things happen everyday in the world of transportation. Follow us on Twitter for the latest and greatest.  

– Jake Ritzheimer  

TrafficCast International, East Coast Operations

Wilmington Welcome

 

TrafficCast International is celebrating the opening of its Wilmington Office and Traffic Operations Center at The Mill with an Open House on Wednesday, June 20th from 5-7pm.

TrafficCast managers and operators welcome the public to tour the state-of-the-art traffic operations facility in Wilmington, Delaware; meet the team, and find out about the TrafficCast Design Challenge. It’s a coders paradise of a contest! If you think you have coding design skills, sign up to code for TrafficCast and TrafficCarma. May you make breakthrough improvements on these existing platforms! This UI/UX Competition comes with $10,000 in prize money. It is held Wednesday, June 27th from 5-7pm at 1776 – The Curtis Center, 601 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.

TrafficCast’s opening at The Mill is free but requires registration. For more information about the Wilmington opening at 1007 N . Orange St, or the design competition in Philadelphia, contact Alana Maguire at amaguire@trafficcast.com.

3 Ways Autonomous Vehicles Will Reshape Our Lives

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) have had a less than rosy few months recently. Strings of fender benders and stories like the fatal Uber crash in Arizona this March, have only hardened some people’s reluctance towards AVs. But despite any setbacks in the public perception (or lack of confidence in the first place), it’s widely agreed by experts that AV-dominated roads are inevitable and destined to be safer. The timeline for a major rollout remains vague at best, but we do know that even a small percentage of properly functioning AVs on the road can greatly improve traffic. So what about when they go mainstream? When AVs are more common than not, we can expect them to reshape our lives in ways that go well beyond easing gridlock.

Here are few:

Retreat to the Suburbs

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A major draw of city-living is the wealth of employment opportunities. But if it weren’t for the stress and unpredictability of long commutes, plenty of city dwellers may opt for the suburbs instead. Enter AVs. When you can sleep, read, or meditate in the car the thought of a commute becomes a lot less daunting. It’ll actually carve out some precious “me-time” for commuters to enjoy each day.

Reduced Car Ownership

For those out in the suburbs or country, hanging onto a personal vehicle will be a practical choice. But for people living and working in the city, the thought of having a car available at a moment’s notice without the costs of ownership has major appeal. Plus riders will shuck the hunt for parking that often lasts longer than the drive itself. Predictions for the driverless future point to an influx of ridesharing services and the creation of subscription-based car rentals.

Pedestrians Reclaim Urban Areas

Cars have taken priority in urban planning for most of the last century. But with the promise of AVs’ superior maneuvering, we’ll likely see streets narrowed to accommodate more pedestrians and bicyclists. Plus with the increase in ridesharing, cars will spend more time driving than parked. Garages and street parking spaces could then be transformed into shops or recreation areas for pedestrians. Some cities are already planning for this transition in their architecture.

Incredible things happen everyday in the world of transportation. Follow us on Twitter for the latest and greatest.  

– Jake Ritzheimer  

TrafficCast International, East Coast Operations

 

Trafficcast Featured!

TrafficCast’s Blue TOAD Spectra unit, which is used by municipalities and highway departments to study traffic patterns and collect data, and live demonstrations of the device were featured in the ITS America Detroit convention publication this week! That’s Director of Business Development Frank Provenzano, looking smart. Go ahead, ask him anything about connected devices!

Demo in Detroit

Want to see a live demonstration of Trafficcast’s BlueToad travel time data analysis system? Head on over to Booth #446 at the ITS America Detroit convention today and tomorrow. BlueTOAD, a market leader in Bluetooth signal detection technologies is used in performance measures assessments to manage travel times, road speeds and route choice behaviours, making it an advanced tool for federal, state and local transportation agencies.

Convention visitors can see for themselves how with Spectra, BlueTOAD now searches and matches “Discoverable” and non-discoverable” based Bluetooth devices.