reroute/sf: a New Model for City-Startup Collaboration


This weekend Engine, along with the City of San Francisco and friends in the tech community, will co-host reroute/sf, a hackathon in which engineers, designers, and business minded folks will form teams to build technology that aims to improve transit in San Francisco.

When our team met with representatives from the City of San Francisco and the SFMTA eight months ago, our message was simple: let’s work together to find technological solutions to overcome the transit challenges affecting the city. Access to transit is important for growing businesses aiming to establish and keep their headquarters in San Francisco.

The problem? Finding a constructive way to address San Franciscans’ transit frustrations in a way that works within the City’s infrastructure and resource constraints. To avoid the pitfalls of similar attempts and ensure real change, a new approach had to be taken -- we had to work closely with the City and local civic organizations to engineer immediately applicable and actionable solutions.

Mark Wills, a designer at Hattery, came up with reroute/sf, a hackathon that uses technology to address problems that citizens and the City agree need to be fixed. We worked together with local officials to determine the core challenges that technology might be able to solve, and we have energized the technology community behind the potential to make their city a better place to live.

This weekend, we’re ready to open our doors for reroute/sf, with the hope that our friends who code, design, and pitch will deliver interesting and useful inventions to help improve our City. The SFMTA has committed to working with the winning teams to make their innovations real, and Google Maps has generously provided grants for the winners to support this collaborative work.

While we aspire to produce new transit technologies this weekend, we also hope for reroute/sf to be a model for future partnerships between the City and the startup community.