Blog: Overview of the Challenge

There are many ways to get involved with the National Transportation Data Challenge in the run-up to our Challenge Summit in Washington, D.C. November 9th! Below, learn more about this initiative and key opportunities, resources and dates to keep in mind for participation.

What is the Challenge?

The National Transportation Data Challenge is a series of community problem-solving events, roundtables, hackathons, demonstrations, and tutorials/trainings to build and strengthen collaborative projects that advance transportation safety by using existing or emerging data. The Challenge links efforts and encourages contributions across six categories:

  • BIKE / PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: How might we improve bike/pedestrian safety in our communities?
  • DISTRACTED DRIVING: How might we determine if there is a distracted driving problem? How might we mitigate the issue?
  • WEATHER / EMERGENCY RESPONSE: How might we improve transportation safety in extreme weather? In cases of crises? 
  • AUTONOMOUS OR CONNECTED VEHICLES: How might we leverage autonomous or enhanced vehicles to improve our constituents’ safety? How might we navigate technological, policy, and social considerations involved?
  • MULTIPLE DATA STREAMS: How might we utilize multiple data streams (particularly from different sectors, sources) to capture actionable insights to make a local transportation corridor more safe? Are there lessons and best practices that can be shared more broadly? 
  • CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT: How might we develop a ready-to-go high school or undergraduate curriculum introducing transportation safety data to build awareness and spark new contributions/solutions?

“The National Transportation Data Challenge focuses on concrete, creative ways to improve public safety by leveraging new information or data analysis,” notes West Big Data Innovation Hub Executive Director Meredith Lee. “We encourage individuals and organizations to share their exciting work, and are excited to connect and convene a diverse community of Challenge innovators to take these ideas and projects to the next level.”

Have an idea about how to create meaningful impact in one of these categories? Participants should register their team to access resources, share their demo, analysis and/or expertise at an upcoming event (in person or online), and compete at the Summit in Washington D.C. on November 9th. The Summit will feature teams and projects from across the country who will be eligible for prizes and awards. 

Important Note: 

Participants who wish to attend the Challenge Summit must register their team, as well as registering for a ticket to the Summit at Eventbrite.

What are the Big Data Innovation Hubs?

The Big Data Hubs are a national network of multi-sector partners, working in concert to use data science resources and techniques to address societal grand challenges. Each Hub focuses on key Big Data challenges and opportunities for its region of service (Midwest, Northeast, South and West) by organizing and coordinating projects. Together with our partners, the Hubs have coordinated the National Transportation Data Challenge to spark insight and innovation around key challenges in transportation that could benefit from data-driven solutions.

What resources are available for participants?

A community-sourced list of data sets and other resources that may be of interest is available at  This includes newly loaded open data sets, analyses examples, reports, and resources curated thus far and /or mentioned on our Challenge Category Calls.  In addition, our collaborators at have set up as a portal that allows access to the cloud computing and Jupyter Notebooks-based resources available to participants.

What are the upcoming events or opportunities to meet the Challenge Organizing Team to learn more?

Call to Action

Transportation-related fatalities are increasing, and we believe that data-driven solutions can have a meaningful impact on this complex challenge. We’d love to hear from you if you’d interested in getting involved — whether by registering your project/team, as a mentor or sponsor, or other partner. Send us an email at and tell us a little more about yourself and how you’d like to get involved. We hope to see you in D.C. this November!