Winter is coming...

Remember last winter in Boston? Of course you do; how could you forget? The historic snow led to problems with public works, infrastructure, and community access to services. Plus, remember the nightmare of public transit and simply getting around town? Out of the mess, a Code for Boston team created the award winning, a crowd-sourcing method for reporting transit delays at our CodeAcross event in February (see video above). And it's awesome - but by that time, it was too late to do anything else for the season.

This year, we wanted to try and get ahead of things. So we decided to #HackWinter!

#HackWinter 2015 is a three-and-a-half week app challenge focusing on winter-specific apps that can help our community in the focus areas of Transit, Infrastructure, and Community. Over the next few weeks, we'll be reaching out to Public Works Departments in the Greater Boston Area as well as community groups, public health agencies, and more to serve as problem owners for the challenge.

Now the important details: 

The #HackWinter 2015 app challenge kicks off on 10am on November 21st at the Microsoft Building on 255 Main Street in Kendall Square in Cambridge - register on Eventbrite here. Teams will spend the day forming and collaborating with partner organizations to brainstorm ideas for their projects. Official working time ends at 5pm on the 21st but teams have the next three and a half weeks to work on their project on their own time and at Code for Boston Hack Nights. 

Final projects will be presented at #HackWinter Demo Night on December 15th at the Venture Cafe at CIC in Kendall Square. 


View full rules


Teams can work from anywhere but if you want to be in contention for the win, at least one representative must commit to presenting your team's project at our Demo Night on December 15th to our panel of judges. 



Projects must fit into one of the three focus areas: Transit, Infrastructure, or Community, and be relevant to solving winter-related issues. Groups should work towards solving a challenge presented by a community partner, or pitch their own project in the Discussions tab, which is also where you can connect with others to discuss ideas and form a team.

Categories are fairly general, and are loosely defined as follows:

  • Transit: Addresses issues of transportation, and may include work with public or private transit organizations.
  • Infrastructure: Addresses isses of critical winter-related infrastructure and services, including energy efficiency, housing / homelessness, plow trackers, and other structural issues.
  • Community: Addresses ways that we can help each other as humans during winter, such as shovel services, food security, elder care, and more.

Keep in mind that we're not necessarily looking for 100% fleshed-out apps; prototypes that demonstrate functionality are OK too!

How to enter

Sign up on the EventBrite and join a team at kickoff event on November 21st. We will be taking submissions from remote teams as well through this DevPost site, but you must present your work at our Demo Night on Dec 15 to be eligible for a prize.


Aimee Sprung

Aimee Sprung
Civic Engagement Manager, Microsoft New England

Holly St. Clair

Holly St. Clair
Director of Enterprise Data, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Chris Osgood

Chris Osgood
Chief of Streets, City of Boston

Denise Taylor

Denise Taylor
Director of Communications & Community Engagement at City of Somerville

Judging Criteria

  • How usable is it?
  • How much better does it make the winter experience?
  • How well does it address the stated challenge?


  • Social Good