Data contest aims to help Massachusetts DOT reduce congestion

| March 20, 2014

The 37 Billion Mile Data Challenge urges participants to create insightful tools that show driving patterns in the state. (Photo via 37 Billion Mile Challenge)

The 37 Billion Mile Data Challenge urges participants to create insightful tools that show driving patterns in the state. (Photo via 37 Billion Mile Challenge)

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has teamed up with local planning agency Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to host a data contest that aims to reduce congestion, the Boston Globe reports.

Dubbed the 37 Billion Mile Data Challenge, the contest encourages data enthusiasts to gather information from the state’s database — the Vehicle Census of Massachusetts — on the motoring public.

According to the contest website, participants can produce “visualizations, analysis, maps, animations, infographics, interactive web tools, games and any other data-driven medium” that offers insight into the driving patterns in the state.

In addition to creating insightful tools, participants are asked to suggest solutions for reducing congestion.

Related: Massachusetts’ $12.4 billion transportation plan covers state, local needs

The Boston Globe report notes that state motorists collectively travel 37 billion miles each year, which is where officials got the idea for the contest name.

The database, which the Metropolitan Area Planning Council spent two years compiling, has more than 16 million record on approximately 7.88 million vehicles registered in the state between 2008 and 2011. The report adds that the data released for the competition are anonymous, so participants won’t be able to link any particular information to a specific address or driver.

The Boston Globe reports that 155 people have registered, and a March 22 event will kick off the contest.

Contest entries are due April 19, and officials will announce winners May 1.

For more details about the contest, visit 37billionmilechallenge.org.

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