How can data and technology improve the quality of life for New York City youth, seniors, and immigrants? That’s the question that NYC BigApps is trying to answer. The annual app competition encourages designers, developers, academics, entrepreneurs, and New Yorkers to develop apps that that leverage data and technology to solve issues related to transportation, access to knowledge, and community resiliency in New York City. Since the competition was launched in January, more than 500 people have participated and 150 apps were submitted.

NYC BigApps unveiled its 2017 winners on May 23. 21st Century State & Local is taking a look at the top apps and how they use tech to improve the lives of New Yorkers.

Transportation Challenge Winner:

(Image: OnBoard)

On Board

On Board is a distributed passenger check-in system for New York City’s paratransit network (Access-A-Ride). By creating a public, independent database of passenger pickups, On Board empowers transit advocates to assess and improve service schedules and quality, and ensures a safer, more reliable ride for thousands of New Yorkers.

Access to Knowledge Challenge Winner:

(Image: PASSNYC)

PASSNYC Opportunity Explorer

The PASSNYC Opportunity Explorer is an interactive, smart catalog and universal application for more than 200 extracurricular opportunities for NYC students. With one streamlined process, families can access test prep and tutoring, after-school programs, athletics, scholarships, community groups, and more.

Community Resiliency Challenge Winner:

(Image: nesterly)


Nesterly facilitates connections across generations and social networks to offer a single solution to the dual challenges of social isolation and housing affordability. Its digital marketplace enables older households with spare space to connect with young people willing to exchange help around the house for lower rent.

Judges Choice Award Winner:


Dollar Van NYC

Dollar Van NYC is on a mission to improve access to low-cost, reliable transportation for the approximately 900,000 New Yorkers living in “transit-starved” areas. Its multilingual Dollar Van app will provide real-time access to more than 500 licensed NYC commuter vans that provide rides for as little as $2.


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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs