This Saturday, March 22, MassDOT and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative will kick-off a six week competition to help determine why Massachusetts cars and trucks log billions of driving miles each year.

The 37 Billion Mile Data Challenge will commence Saturday, with “a day of skill-building and team-assembling” in Boston’s Innovation District, inside District Hall. Hosted by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Saturday’s “Datathon” will teach participants “new skills or reinforce existing ones.” Then, participants will break off into teams for a data-crunch-off.

The all-day event will last from 9 a.m to 6 p.m.

“The Datathon is an inclusive event, like a hackathon but welcoming all skill sets,” according to a statement on the website.

In the morning:

Our morning session, “How to Win a Data Challenge”, will feature a diverse collection of data-driven folks leading tutorials and skill-building sessions. Learn more about data analysis, GIS, user-oriented design, and software development in order to create compelling entries. Speaker lineup will be announced soon.

In the afternoon:

“Using the skills you learned in the morning session, form teams and work on your submissions for the April 19 deadline.”

Snacks and two yoga classes will be offered throughout the day.

MassDOT, in partnership with MAPC and MTC, hopes The 37 Billion Mile Data Challenge will help the state build and offer a more sustainable transit system, by asking participants to “explore anonymous vehicle-use data” and answer: Why car and truck owners take to the open road so often?

Researchers, analysts, designers, developers and philosophers are encouraged to sign up.

The organizers are looking for: Visualizations, analysis, maps, animations, infographics, interactive web tools, games, and any other data-driven medium that reveals patterns and helps inform action.” And they’re looking for answers to the following questions:.

  1. How much are households spending on gas? Where does driving place the biggest burden on family budgets?
  2. Where might investments in walking, biking and transit have the biggest impact in reducing how much people drive?
  3. What is the best way for communities to measure greenhouse gas emissions and set goals for reducing them?
  4. Do minimum parking requirements for new developments match up with vehicle ownership rates in different communities?