Prizes for the third annual VIA goCodeSA Codeathon have increased with over $11,000 in cash and prizes. This year prizes will be distributed a little bit differently, but that just means there are more winners. This year the teams will not all be judged on the same overall category. There will be winning prizes for three challenge areas. They are highlighted below. Also, this year each of our diamond sponsors will also be giving a $500 award and these awards can be won by any team, not just our finalists.

Please note that due to low registration levels of the Chatbot challenges there has been a change to the prize distribution. We have created additional awards in the quick trips and open innovation challenges. The new prize amounts are below with even more prize money allocated than before!

Quick Trip Prize Amounts

1st place: $1500

2nd place: $1000

3rd place: $500

AR/VR Prize Amounts

1st place: $1500

2nd place: $500

Open Innovation Prize Amounts

1st place: $1500

2nd place: $1000

3rd place: $500

4th place: $250

CivTechSA City Problem Solver Award – $500

This award is designed to be given to the project that has the largest impact on the city and/or mobility, not necessarily just VIA. Any project can qualify for this award, and it will be selected by our first-round judges so that all projects will be evaluated on its city-wide impact. Don’t be afraid to dream big, just because your project is rooted in VIA that doesn’t mean it can’t lead to a larger impact.

Dailey-Wells Fan Favorite Award – $500

This award will be voted on by everyone present at the closing event. Each member of the audience will be able to submit a vote on who their favorite team is, so bring your friends and family to help support you at the final event.

Trinity University Best Student Project Award – $500

This award will be given to the best student project and that doesn’t just mean Trinity students. Any team that is composed of at least 50% university or coding school student qualifies for this award. Fresh new minds to the San Antonio coding community will have their opportunity to shine with this award.

VIA Innovation Award – $500

This award will be given to the team that best demonstrates the best spirit of innovation. Grandiose ideas and over-the-top enthusiasm for creating a revolutionary project are what the judges will be looking to reward for this prize.


All projects will be judged on Impact, Innovation, and Technical Achievement. Each challenge will also have a category with topics that are specific to said challenge. The weights of each of these criteria will total 100 points with 20 points for Impact, 20 points for Innovation, 20 points for Technical Achievement, and 40 points for the challenge specific criteria.

Impact – 20pts

  • Would the application have real social impact?
  • Can it help someone in the community?
  • Does it solve a stated goal of the VIA Codeathon?
  • Is the solution effective?

Innovation – 20pts

  • Is the solution novel?
  • Does it solve a problem in a creative way?

Technical Achievement – 20pts

  • Did the participants solve a hard technical problem?
  • Did they get a working demo completed within the allotted time?

Quick Trip Challenge Criteria – 40pts

  • Does the app identify suitable locations based on search criteria?
  • Does the app indicate whether a round trip is needed?
  • Does the app provide a time estimate?
  • Is the app desktop and mobile friendly?
  • Does the app sort results by travel time, rating, other categories?
  • Does the app include any notifications systems?

Chat Bot Challenge Criteria

  • Chatbot projects will be judged in the Open Innovation category

Augmented Reality Challenge Criteria – 40pts

  • Does the application utilize augmented reality in a creative and useful way for customers?
  • Does the application highlight important VIA information (next bus arrivals, key infrastructure, etc)?
  • Does the application help VIA users plan trips and navigate the system?

Open Innovation Challenge Criteria – 40pts

  • Does the idea help solve a challenge that does not fit the other challenges?
  • Is the proposed solution helpful to current or potential VIA customers?
  • Is the demo completed successfully addressing the proposed challenge and solution?

2019 Challenges

#1 – VIA Quick Trip Web App Conversion And Enhancement

Using the existing iOS VIA Quick Trip (Codeathon 2018) swift code as a template and starting point, rewrite using new code into a responsive web app. Bonus points for new and enhanced features.
Functional Requirements: 
  • Allow a user to search for food, drink, and nearby attractions using the same categories as in the current app.
  • Allow a user to indicate whether a round trip is needed, and if so must request that a time be specified.
  • Using the parameters above, find suitable nearby places.
  • Provide a trip time estimate and route summary using transit.
  • Allow the user to open their trip in a map application.
  • The app must be both desktop and mobile friendly.
Technical Requirements:
Suggested Enhancements:
Find a clever way to fill the search/loading time after searching for locations.
Alternately, find a way to optimize the search to make it faster.
Implement a notifications system for when it is time to leave for each journey leg.
Allow a user to prioritize trip results by travel time, rating, or other categories.


#2 – Build Customer Feedback Chat-bot Functionality for VIA’s Existing Chat-bot

**Please note that chatbot projects will be judged in the open innovation category.**

Develop a chat-bot flow that will allow a rider to submit reports, complaints, compliments, and other feedback.
Functional Requirements: 
  • The rider must be able to enter information that is then cataloged in a way that is useful to VIA customer support staff.
  • The bot must be able to categorize the conversation into the below categories and collect the corresponding information for that category.
  • Collect rider contact information (First Name, Last Name, Mobile #, email, etc)
  • The bot must be able to collect the following:
    • Commendations
      • Required – First Name, Last Name, Phone or email, comment
    • Maintenance Requests
      • Required – Location, location type (stop, bus, transit center), Time, Issue
    • Bus Issues
      • Required – First Name, Last Name, Phone or email, Route #
      • Optional – Vehicle Number, Operator Name/ID
    • Driver Issues
      • Required – First Name, Last Name, Phone or email, Route #, Operator name/ID, Issue
      • Optional – Vehicle Number
    • General Complaints
      • Required – First Name, Last Name, Phone or email, comment
  • Create a way to display the results of the conversations in a easy to read format for VIA customer support use.
Technical Requirements:
The bot must be built on the Progress NativeChat framework. (
The bot can also use Progress Kinvey to support the bot (
Suggested Enhancements:
Allow a user to submit photos.
Allow a user to indicate their location on a map.
Allow VIA to query users for information through the chat interaction.
Allow a VIA representative to take over for bot and respond in real time.
Create a way for the chatbot to learn on its own.


#3 – Augmented Reality Project

Develop an application that will allow a user to gain additional insight into VIA’s bus system by using augmented reality.
Functional Requirements:
This challenge is a bit more open ended, there are no specific requirements.
Technical Requirements:
There are no specific technical requirements. Please follow VIA Application Coding Standards where applicable.
Potential Uses:
Give a user next bus arrivals when they hold their camera up to a bus stop flag. Every bus stop has a number assigned and printed on the sign.
Give a user additional information about VIA infrastructure with image recognition.
Put a virtual trip plan path on the ground when viewing the screen on a mobile device.


#4 – Open Innovation Challenge

Do you have a really good idea that doesn’t fit into the other challenges? Showcase your idea in the Open Innovation Challenge.
Technical Requirements:
There are no specific technical requirements. Please follow VIA Application Coding Standards where applicable.
Potential Ideas (not required, just suggestions):
Create an app that lets you find food trucks on a map and shows you what bus route you take to get there.
If I get on route X, what attractions are along the way.
I have X minutes and want to do something, what bus will take me somewhere fun.
Plan me a round trip that takes me to several locations and helps me plan out my entire day of transit.
Think of ways to use transit that aren’t simple A to B trips, but rather ways to explore using transit.