Travel app competition launches in the North East

A competition for the public to design and build a new travel app has launched in the North East.

Data Movement enables anyone with a passion for technology to design apps for the general public using data published by the North East Combined Authority (NECA).

Delivered by NECA and the Digital Catapult Centre North East & Tees Valley, the competition allows individuals, groups or companies with an idea for an app to submit an idea regardless of their previous experience in designing and building mobile apps.

Ideas for apps can use one of more traffic, car park, CCTV, weather or signal data sets, which are collected and published by Tyne and Wear Urban Traffic Management Control (UTMC), a partnership between the region’s Local Authorities and Metro operators Nexus.

The competition is open until Thursday 31 December 2015 and all submitted ideas will be displayed online for the public to vote for from January, with the top three ideas receiving £5000 each to develop the app into a working product.

The Digital Catapult Centre North East & Tees Valley has lined up a panel of North East-based mobile development companies that can help entrants to develop their idea into a functioning app.

The overall winner will be the app that achieved the most downloads from the app store in April 2016, with the winner receiving an extra £2000 cash prize.

Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council said: “Our number one transport aim on the Combined Authority is to make it easier for people to get around the region for work or leisure.

“The information we have available thanks to the Open Data Service gives us a great opportunity to make that aim a reality.

“This innovative competition gives people the chance to develop a game changing app in which the data behind our daily commutes can be repackaged as what will hopefully be the essential North East transport app.”

NECA will be available throughout the competition to answer technical questions on their data sets whilst the Digital Catapult Centre North East & Tees Valley will provide business support to those participants who would like to understand commercial models associated with app development.

Naomi Morrow, Project Manager at the Digital Catapult Centre North East & Tees Valley said: “Data Movement is a new type of Open Innovation, an initiative designed to get everyone thinking about the possibilities of data and the applications and services which can be created to serve the public.

“The process allows anyone; individuals, groups or companies, with a bright idea and a passion for technology to design something the public will want to use.

“Asking the public to vote for their favourite idea and giving the top three designers a cash prize to help develop the app into a fully working, downloadable product means that we are truly opening the doors for everybody to engage with data and create genuinely innovative solutions.”

The competition is open until Thursday 31st December 2015. Submissions can be made via a simple form on the Data Movement website at www.datamovement.co.uk.