GSA offering $90,000 in travel-app challenge

(Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg)
(Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg)

The General Services Administration is offering a combined $90,000 in awards for digital apps that could help federal agencies identify travel inefficiencies and reduce costs, according to a recent GSA announcement.

The tools would need to harness existing federal travel data and other publicly available information to provide “meaningful insights that can help drive smarter travel decisions by federal employees,” the notice said. That means they would have to actively make recommendations for efficiency rather than simply gathering and displaying data.

The top concept will win $35,000, while the runner-up will receive $30,000 and the third-place finisher will net $25,000.

The White House Office of Management and Budget issued a memo in 2012 directing agencies to reduce travel spending by 30 percent compared to 2010 levels, in addition to maintaining their reduced levels through 2016.

In fiscal 2013, the federal government spent about $8.5 billion on travel through its Smart Pay charge-card program, representing a reduction of nearly 19 percent compared to the previous year, according to GSA figures.

GSA announced the app competition on its Challenge.gov platform, which recently received the Harvard Innovations in American Government award. The site includes more than 300 ongoing competitions.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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