You are here


The MIT Big Data Challenge



Take me to the




The MIT Big Data Initiative at CSAIL is organizing competitions designed to spur innovation in how we think about and use data to address major societal issues.  Big Data promises a better world where data will be used to make better decisions, from how we invest money to how we manage our healthcare to how we educate our children and manage our cities and resources.  These changes are enabled by a proliferation of new technologies and tools that have the ability to measure, monitor, record, combine and query all kinds of data about us and the world around us. 

Working with our partners, the MIT Big Data Challenge will define real-world challenges in different areas such as transportation, health, finance and education, and make available data sets for the competition.  Our goal is to provide the MIT community with new and unique opportunities to show how data can make a difference.


MIT Big Data Challenge: Transportation in the City of Boston

OPEN: NOV 12 2013
END: JAN 20, 2014
PRIZES:  totaling $10K


The first MIT Big Data Challenge launched November 12 2013 in partnership with the City of Boston and co-sponsored by Transportation@MIT focuses on transportation in downtown Boston.  The challenge will make available multiple data sets, including transportation data from more than 2.3 million taxi rides, local events, social media and weather records, with the goal of predicting demand for taxis in downtown Boston and creating visualizations that provide new ways to understand public transportation patterns in the city.

The City of Boston is interested in gaining new insights into how people use all modes of transportation travel in and around the downtown Boston area.   A critical imperative of Boston's Complete Streets Policy is to move all modes of transportation more efficiently and to use real-time data to facilitate better trip-planning between modes of transportation.   With urban congestion on the rise, city planners are looking for ways to improve transportation such as providing people with more options to get from one place to another (walking, biking, driving, or using public transit) and by reducing and more efficiently routing vehicles in the city.

This Data Challenge provides a unique opportunity to analyze City of Boston taxi data and combine multiple data sets including social media, transit ridership, events data and weather data to effectively predict demand and better understand patterns in taxi ridership.  We hope this will result in new insights for the City of Boston and the public that will improve transportation in the city (and ability to get a cab when you need one)!


MIT Big Data Challenge: Transportation in the City of Boston Visualization and Prediction Winners!

View links to Winning Teams Visualizations and Presentations to learn more about what they did and what they leaned!

Visit Visualization Submission Gallery!

City of Boston Taxi Data Set used for the MIT Big Data Challenge is now publicly available!