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And The Winner Of Seattle’s Hack The Commute Is …

A few months ago the City of Seattle launched a search for the next big commuter tool.

The idea was to Hack the Commute – and make a real difference in the lives of people who need to move around our region. Wednesday night they picked a winning project.

The winning project was Hackcessible, the group that developed an app for a group of people who are often forgotten: people in wheelchairs.

The app checks the terrain around a bus stop for hills and accessible curbs, and it allows users to report obstacles. And it can be used with the mother of Seattle transit apps, OneBusAway.

[asset-images[{"caption": "Team Hackcessible won Seattle's Hack The Commute for their Access Map.", "fid": "117277", "style": "card_280", "uri": "public://201504/Hackcessible-Team-2_April-2015-300x225.png", "attribution": "Credit University of Washington Department of Computer Science and Engineering"}]]  Brian de Place, a manager at Seattle’s Department of Transportation, said Hackcessible can even warn users about obstacles from construction.

The winners got a Kindle and a lot of free cloud computing.

Allie Deford of the Hackcessible team said the real prize was “Recognition and support from people in the city. And that’s really how this takes off.”

Two other projects went to the finalist round.

Slugg connects drivers with colleagues so they can share the commute – and score the HOV lane. Work Orbit uses traffic data to show people where to live so they can get to work their way. These projects can still go ahead.

The hackers couldn’t fix Seattle’s highways or give everyone wings, but they all gave people information, using data provided by private and public entities.

Said deputy mayor Kate Joncas, “Citizens using open data to make our community better – I just love that.”