Public Transportation

What’s the heartbeat of your city? Does data make your pulse race? Buses, trams, bicycles, pedestrians, and cars zoom about modern cities like blood pulsing through the body. But with urban growth comes challenges—one of them is how to improve transportation. Luckily, advances in technology combined with active open data and open source movements mean the citizenry can increasingly become part of the solution. Unclog the arteries, stimulate circulation.

Over the course of nearly 2 months, designers, programmers, data scientists, artists, and students participated in the challenge. At the end,the justly elected6 winners from over 80 participants from around the world. By merging and comparing then different data sets, winning projects showcased the power of open government data, drew actionable insights, and facilitated knowledge exchange between the cities. See the winning projects below.

While studying public transportation, Designers, programmers, data scientists, and artists alike are invited to take up the challenge: merge and compare mobility data sets from three cities—San Francisco, Geneva, and Zurich—and draw meaningful insights. Winning projects will showcase the power of open governmental data and facilitate the knowledge exchange between cities. Juried prizes include round-trip airfare to one of the participating cities and funding from Fusepool, the European / Swiss Datapool, for developing the project into an app.


The decisions of the Jury shall be final and conclusive in all circumstances and no correspondence will be entered into. Sylvie Reinhard | Lift Conference Antoine Stroh | Transports Publics Genevois (TPG), Geneva Bronwyn Agrios | Esri Ariel Schwartz | Fast Company Hannes Gassert | Michael Kaschesky | Sophie Lamparter Ian Johnson Bruno Mändi Josette Melchor Scott Murray Christopher A. Pangilinan Michael Porath


Grand Prize! 2 x Round trip tickets for two people to one of the participating cities: Zurich, San Francisco or Geneva More Prizes! 3 x 300 USD Cash Prize Selection criteria: Impress the jury with creativity, usability, action, fusion of multiple data sets, aesthetics or all of the above.

Fusepool’s Choice

As finalist you receive up to $5,000 to develop your data visualization into a Java OSGi App with support from the Fusepool team. You remain the owner of your App but grant the Fusepool team the right to showcase and use your App. Selection criteria:

  1. Usability: How useful/informative is the visualization?
  2. Development: How easily can the visualization be developed into an App?
  3. Impact: How easily can the visualization be implemented in other areas?

All winners will be announced online on and in the related events.

How To Enter

It’s just four steps.

  1. Join the Google group. You can participate alone or in a group. Introduce yourself, look for teammates, and talk about ideas in the Google Group
  2. Download dataset
  3. Read all terms and conditions and create your visualization Your data visualization can be as simple or complex as you desire; they can be static or dynamic, interactive or not, it can be anything — infographic, interactive web app, motion graphic, video, or anything else you can think up. Visualizations can be produced using any tool or digital medium and your entry can be uploaded as any type of digital format, as long as the team fully discloses the usage in their submission.
  4. Upload it by March 31, 2013 (12 am PST)You must upload your project by March 31, 2013 (12 am PST) the latest. Submissions received after that date and time shall be discarded.

Events and Videos

April 6: Winner Announcement San Francisco: Jury announcement Awards Ceremony, at swissnex 11am Followed by a panel discussion on Open Government Data. Zurich: Live Streaming of Jury announcement by, at Liips 8pm

Highlights from the Awards Ceremony

Complete video from the Awards Ceremony

  February 23: International Open Data Day San Francisco: 1- Day Hackathon at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) Zurich:  Meet-up with Skype to San Francisco by, 8pm (Dock18, Rote Fabrick)

Highlights from the Hack Day

Q&A with Chris Pangilinan from SFMTA

D3.js Workshop

February 8: Kick-off Hackathon Geneva: Lift Conference, 11am – 4pm, Room 23

February 6: Kick-off Event San Francisco: swissnex, 6:30pm Geneva: Lift Conference, 2 to 3:45pm, Session Democracy in Distress – Re-engineering Participation

Video from the kick-off event in Geneva

Get The Data

You must use one of the provided transportation data sets from all three cities: Zurich, San Francisco, and Geneva. We have public transportation data from the first week of October 1-7, 2012. Use the data however you want: merge, compare, overlay and show us how people move in the three cities. Read the Getting Started guide and get the data here → Github You are free to use any other open data sets you can find under the following conditions:

  • The data must be mashed up with one of the data sets provided
  • The team discloses the use of their own data set
  • The data is open and legal and does not violate the rights of third parties. The Project Organizers reserve the absolute right to disqualify any participant that it determines in its sole discretion to have used improper technical means or data in making a submission

Here are some suggestions for other useful data sets that could be interesting to mix with the provided data sets: Maps Google Maps Open Street Map Public Transportation Schedules, Maps, Stops VBZ – Zürich SFMTA – San Francisco TPG – Geneva Open Data by the three cities San Francisco Zurich Geneva Weather San Francisco 1 San Francisco 2 Switzerland Meteo : Github Startup Map Switzerland San Francisco

Important: Data License

All submissions will be considered for inclusion in the Urban Data Challenge gallery, in all the communication and events related to it and in a potential exhibition afterwards. The data sets and all the visualizations created out of it are provided under the Creative Commons license (CC 3.0 BY-NC) during and after the time of the challenge. [section name=”Terms & Conditions” slug=”terms-conditions”]Terms & Conditions[/section] The following describes the terms on which the Urban Data Challenge Project offers you access to our website and to the websites of our organizers, co-sponsors, partners and international affiliates (collectively, the “Project Organizers”) involved in the Urban Data Challenge Project (hereinafter the “Challenge” and/or the “Project”).     These Terms and Conditions shall be binding on you if and when you choose to participate in the Project. Entry and participation in the Project shall be deemed an unconditional acceptance by you of these Terms and Conditions. You must pass a copy of these Terms and Conditions to your team members (if applicable) and ensure they comply with them. By participating in the Project, you and all members of your team (if applicable) will be deemed to have read and understood these Terms and Conditions and be bound by them.


Although we are only using data sets from the cities of San Francisco, Zurich and Geneva, you can participate from all over the world. The Challenge is open to persons who are at least eighteen years old at the time of entry. You must provide personal details as reasonably requested to do so by us. Participation constitutes contestant’s full and unconditional agreement to all the terms and conditions and the decisions made by the jury.

License of Data Content and Submissions

You do not have to submit anything to the Project, but if you choose to submit something (including any content, ideas, concepts, techniques and data), you must grant, and you actually grant, a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sub-licensable, fully paid up and royalty free right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, and use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, anything that you submit to us, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties. By submitting any information to us, you represent and warrant that such submission is accurate, is not confidential, and is not in violation of any contractual restrictions or other third party rights. All submissions will be considered for inclusion in the Urban Data Challenge gallery, in all the communication and events related to it and in potential exhibitions afterwards. The data sets and all the visulations created out of it shall be exclusively provided under the Creative Commons license (CC 3.0 BY-NC) during and after the time of the challenge.

Exclusion of Liability

Neither the Project Organizers nor any of the organizers or their co-sponsors, partners, affiliates or representatives shall be liable in any way for any costs, expenses, damages, liability or injury arising out of or in any way connected with the Project, other than those costs and expenses specifically provided for in the particular prize (if any). The Project Organizers and their co-sponsors, partners, affiliates and representatives accept no liability (and shall be excluded from any liability) for any loss of profit, business, contracts, revenues or anticipated savings or for any special, direct, indirect or consequential loss of any nature howsoever arising out of or in connection with the Project and/or the award of any prize.

Law and Forum for Legal Disputes

Participation in the Project shall be governed in all respects by the laws of the State of California, Unites States of America, as they apply to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within California between California residents, without regard to conflict of law provisions. You agree that any claim or dispute you may have arising out of or connected with the Project must be resolved exclusively by a state or federal court located in San Francisco County, California.


You will indemnify and hold us (and our Project Organizers, co-sponsors, partners, affiliates, officers, directors, agents, subsidiaries, joint ventures and employees) harmless from any claim or demand, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, made by any third party due to or arising out of your breach of these Terms and Conditions, or your violation of any law or the rights of any third party.


Prizes are not transferable and must (where applicable) be used on the dates specified and may not be redeemed for cash. All prizes are accepted entirely at the risk of the winning participant and the Project Organizers exclude all warranties in connection with any prize. If a specified prize becomes unavailable, the Project Organizers may substitute a replacement prize at its absolute discretion. In such an instance, the Project Organizers will use their best efforts to ensure the substitute prize is of equal or greater value to the original prize. Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, the winning participant will be required to complete all appropriate or applicable booking or other formalities direct with such provider. Winning participants are responsible for any and all taxes payable as the result of a prize being awarded or received. If, for any reason, a winning participant chooses not to accept the prize, or cannot be contacted, or fails to reply to the Project Organizers within 14 days of notification, or fails to meet the eligibility requirements as set forth above, then the Project Organizers may declare such win void and the offered prize shall lapse and the Project Organizers shall select a substitute winner in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. The Project Organizers reserve the right to cancel the Project at any time if they deem such cancellation to be necessary due to events beyond their reasonable control. No prize will be awarded if the Project is cancelled.


Ask the Google Group

Public Transportation, the inaugural data visualization challenge of Data Canvas, was organized by swissnex San Francisco, Gray Area, and Lift Conference. The project would not have been possible without the support of partners and friends in all three cities.