Mayor Bill de Blasio, Civic Hall Labs, and New York City Economic Development Corporation announced three Grand Prize winners and one Judge’s Choice Award winner of the 2017 NYC BigApps Competition.

“NYC BigApps is about New Yorkers helping New Yorkers. Every year, we ask our tech and creative talent to help solve pressing challenges. They step up and consistently exceed our expectations with innovative ideas for New York,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

This year’s competition adopted a user-centered focus, with each challenge anchored in the expressed needs of community end users and the social practitioners who serve them. Developers, designers, strategists, and New Yorkers at large were asked to solve challenges faced by immigrants, seniors, and youth in the areas of transportation, knowledge, and community resiliency.

Civic Hall Labs hosted a series of product development workshops that drew more than 500 developers, designers, subject matter experts, students and nonprofit professionals, providing valuable tools that support an empathy-driven approach to creating viable solutions.

“As the producing partner for NYC BigApps, Civic Hall Labs served as a resource for New Yorkers to grow ideas and projects that will improve the welfare and wellbeing of our communities,” said Elizabeth Stewart, Civic Hall Labs Executive Director.

The competition culminated with The Finalist Expo and Awards Ceremony where nine finalists presented to a panel of judges who selected the winners:

On Board (Grand Prize Winner): 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.

PASSNYC Opportunity Explorer (Grand Prize Winner): offers a common application through which students will be able to both find and apply for over 200 NYC-based after-school, summer and weekend extracurricular programs.

nesterly (Grand Prize Winner): enables older households with spare space to connect with young people willing to exchange help around the house for lower rent through a digital platform.

Dollar Van NYC (Judge’s Choice Award Winner): a multilingual app providing real-time access to over 500 licensed commuter vans that provide rides for as little as $2.

Winners will receive the Grand Prize worth more than $30,000, which includes $15,000 in cash, admission into Civic Hall Labs’ Civic Accelerator program, discounted courses and workshops from General Assembly and pro bono legal services from BakerHostetler.

The Judges Award winner will be given the opportunity to pilot their app on LinkNYC’s 600+ Links throughout the five boroughs.

“This year’s BigApps winners epitomize civic technology at its best and provide New York City with exciting new resources. The finalists demonstrated once again that New York City leads the country in innovation that puts people first, improves neighborhoods and makes cities more livable,” said Andrew Rasiej, President and Co-Founder of Civic Hall Labs.

Panel discussion at Finalist Expo & Awards Ceremony with Jessica Lawrence Quinn (NY Tech Alliance, moderator), Elizabeth Stewart (Civic Hall Labs), Genevieve Gaudet (Bureau Blank, BigApps mentor), Georges Clement (, past BigApps winner, BigApps mentor), and Casey Gafry (BigApps participant)

The 2017 winners were selected from a group of impressive finalists:

Border Buddy: providing free legal services for travelers targeted by President Trump’s Muslim ban. Travelers can register for Border Buddy to track their flight arrival information. Border Buddy will send a lawyer to the airport if a traveler has not contacted them more for than two hours after arrival.

Rapid Response: providing technology for immigrant communities and advocates fighting mass deportation through participatory deportation defense programs.

Conductor: aggregating transportation data from a variety of sources in order to give riders more accurate directions and information. Conductor delivers that information in a range of formats, making it accessible to different communities.

Kurtin: increasing minority college graduation rates by providing fun, relatable, and interactive tools that help high school students gather the critical insights necessary to make informed college selection decisions.

Torus Teens: an online platform that connects urban teens with out-of-school programs and resources to explore interests, build skills, and expand networks outside of the classroom.

The NYC BigApps competition is sponsored by Microsoft, Intersection, LinkNYC, BakerHostetler, and General Assembly. The final event was sponsored by Esri, First Republic Bank, AppNexus, and Civic Hall.