The inspiration for TransitRewards was drawn from the decrease in traffic that local businesses faced during and following the pandemic. NJ TRANSIT's tools offer a unique perspective to combat this issue and prove to be beneficial to the domestic economy of New Jersey.
What it does
TransitRewards provides a tool for local businesses to grow their customer base within their own communities. Using NJ TRANSIT tools, TransitRewards provides local businesses the opportunity to target their advertising to users of NJ TRANSIT who frequent nearby stops to their own location. The advertising system is innovatively built as a rewards system based on a bidding system where an increase in impressions is dependent on the amount of the bid. This system benefits not only local businesses but NJ TRANSIT as well by encouraging users to spend more money on transportation tickets in exchange for deals that support local businesses. Through this mutually beneficial relationship, TransitRewards aims to improve the welfare of local New Jerseyans.
How we built it
TransitHacks was built using ReactJS and NextJS. Firebase was used for the databases used in order to perform oAuth2 verification and collect information from local businesses regarding their bids. HTML/CSS were used to built the front-end for both the website for the businesses as well as the rewards website for NJ Transit users.
Challenges we ran into
Some challenges we ran into include originally being unfamiliar with the tools provided by NJ TRANSIT. Other challenges we faced included making the rewards system work efficiently with the bidding system. We accommodated for value in bidding higher by utilizing a horizontal scroll layout which causes more user fatigue and a higher likelihood in using deals ordered closer to first. Furthermore, we also made sure bidding was valuable regardless of being the highest bidder by using an algorithm to give everyone first row impressions dependent on the amount of their bid. No local business will be stuck at the end of the list this way, and instead, all businesses will have the opportunity to grow through the advantages of being at the front of the rewards page.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
An accomplishment in particular that we are proud of is collaboratively discussing with the employees of NJ TRANSIT to strengthen and constantly improve our idea during its proof of concept stages. We believe we did our best in providing a product that suits the mission and endeavors of NJ TRANSIT, by addressing many of the concerns and ideas the NJ TRANSIT employees had. We are also proud of making a system that is a valuable resource for local businesses.
What we learned
Through this project, we gained a good understand of full-stack development. Having team members involved in backend, frontend, etc., we feel that we gained a stronger understanding of working together in a team and collaborating in a programming setting. In addition, we better learned specific skills related to web development such as React, HTML, and firebase.
What's next for TransitRewards
We believe that TransitRewards offers a unique system that can only be done with transit companies. By using route data, local businesses have a unique opportunity to directly promote themselves to people who live or visit the adjacent area. This is something that can be applied not only with NJ Transit, but with similar transit companies around the country.