Celebrating Cities: Hacking the Last Mile Winners

Last weekend, we held a Celebrating Cities Hackathon in partnership with Deloitte and with participation from the US Department of Transportation. We’re thrilled to have hosted around numerous hackathon participants in our East Coast headquarters.

The event kicked off on Friday night with a panel of special guests who included Adam Rogal, Manager of Uber API Engineering and Developer Relations; Zuhairah Washington, General Manager; Uber DC, Dan Morgan, Chief Data Officer, U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT); and Stephanie Gidigbi, Deputy Director for Strategic Initiatives, USDOT. The panel discussed ways the public and private sector could work together on solving the last mile, highlighting how Uber augments many cities’ public transit, efficiently and effectively completing the last mile.

As the weekend went on, nine teams designed solutions to help local residents better connect to their cities using data from USDOT, the Census Bureau, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Developers were able to access the Federal data using Socrata, augmenting those data sets by using the Uber API to facilitate rides and trip experiences. Each team’s product was critiqued by a panel of judges on design, originality, impact, and effective use of the Uber API. There were a number of remarkable projects but one stood out from the bunch.

Congratulations to our winners, Team Happy Home!

From left to right: Martin Folkoff, Shaq Katikala, Kevin Hawkins, Savanna Rovira, and Naudy Martinez.

Team Happy Home focused on helping DC and Baltimore area residents triangulate affordable rental housing. Since affordable housing options outside of the city center tend to increase commute times, the team’s goal was to reduce long commute times to work, home, and school. The team cross-correlated rental housing costs with apartment occupancy, transit times, driving congestion, and the distance between home and destination.

Following its victory, Team Happy Home now has the opportunity to continue to develop their product and present their project to the Uber API developer team.


“The Celebrating Cities Hackathon was an excellent way to show how Federal data can help identify gaps in connectivity, and how private sector data and products can be used to begin addressing those gaps. The Department’s Ladders of Opportunity Initiative aims to ensure our transportation system connects all communities to economic opportunity and critical services.” — Dan Morgan, Chief Data Officer, USDOT


As our first hackathon in DC, we appreciate all those who participated and worked on solutions to better connect their cities. We look forward to watching some of these innovative ideas turn into new products to help cities and their residents.

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