BlinkTag makes technology easy for city and transportation planning professionals.
We are city planners, web developers, transportation engineers, graphic artists, social media managers, and interaction designers.
BlinkTag uniquely understands the structural barriers separating communities from public resources, as well as the challenges public agencies face in reducing those barriers, because many of our technical staff are also experienced city planners.
Read more about our projects.
BlinkTag operates by consensus as a collective.We foster skill-sharing between planners and technologists on our team and beyond.
Read more about our team.
BlinkTag is committed to reuse and libre/open source software. We strive to put publicly-funded code in the public domain.
Read more about our process.
BlinkTag adheres to the tenets of user-centered design. Successful design and strategy are informed by users’ wants and needs, rather than assumptions. To that end, before writing any code we listen to our clients. We strive to understand our audience and goals, and allow them to inform every step of the project. We then apply design research tactics, including rapid prototyping, wireframes, iterative development, and contextual inquiry to ensure that our deliverables satisfy both the audience and agency goals. We favor regular communication via check-ins and a collaborative relationship with our client thought partners.
In addition, BlinkTag supports tools that can be reused by the public. This includes both open source (meaning that others can modify and reuse it for their own purpose without cost) and free/libre (additionally, others can never charge for their derivations) licensing.
Our clients have a variety of challenges and constraints, but share a desire for data-driven solutions and meaningful community engagement.
Project Tags and Thumbnails
BlinkTag's several projects with BART include graphic design, social media strategy, UI/UX improvements, and more.
BlinkTag built 511ContraCosta's Wordpress site and manages their social media.
San Francisco Unified School District
BlinkTag built a customized application system to increase community access to San Francisco's school facilities.
NACTO Urban Street Design Guide
BlinkTag put NACTO's beautifully illustrated and annotated Urban Street Design Guide online through a simple Wordpress site.
TripGenie is a seven-step visual guide that calculates trip generation rates based on place, density, zoning, transit, infrastructure and more.
Fórum Cazenga displays maps and data related to city planning and development in Luanda, Angola.
Solo Kota Kita
Solo Kota Kita is developing mapping tools for neighborhood advocacy and citizen planning in Surakarta (Solo), Central Java, Indonesia.
The County Connection
BlinkTag built a website and GTFS transit feed for this Contra Costa County bus system.
iSmog is an iOS application that displayed air quality forecasts for the Bay Area and notifies the user when the forecast is less than great.
AMPLab is a UC Berkeley research group focusing on Big Data analytics. The Wordpress site supports researchers, students, and staff in sharing publications and research.
The Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency's Wordpress site serves cities, utility districts, and members of the public.
DrawerSpeaks is an extension of the Floodwall project, an art installation made of 710 drawers salvaged from post-Katrina debris in New Orleans.
Free and Open Tools
We use free and open software, and strive to make it easier for others to do the same.
San Francisco Bay View
The San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper, founded in 1976, is the most widely-read source of political opinion and cultural news for African-Americans in the Bay Area, and is an important network and communication tool for the black
The Cornerstone Partnership is a Wordpress website organizing hundreds of documents, case studies, and publications covering best practices and templates for creating programs to provide affordable housing.
BlinkTag built a Wordpress site to support the Shared Equity Homeownership Initiative's network of organizations committed to developing a new model of sustainable and affordable homeownership.
MyAmericanHealthcareStory.org is a group of concerned citizens who believe that the case for far-reaching healthcare reform is best expressed by the collective voices of the citizens who the current system fails daily.
BlinkTag was created in 2007 by people who believe that planners should be able to build their own tools. As professionals, we refused to pick planning or technology over the other, and have created a collective of experienced practitioners that embrace collaboration, consensus-making, and skill-sharing. Our clients appreciate our empathy, subject matter expertise, and context-informed approach.
Brendan Nee, Principal
Brendan loves cities and technology. His background in transportation engineering and programming gives him a unique ability to solve planning and transportation problems through web-based maps, open data, interactive tools and APIs. He’s been playing with the web for so long he can remember when Netscape was king and the blink tag rocked his world!
Ruth Miller, Principal
With planning degrees from both MIT and UC Berkeley, Ruth has top academic planner cred. She spent years on transportation policy at a top U.S. planning firm and successfully advocated for better infrastructure at Walk Oakland Bike Oakland. She is a member of Transport Oakland and on the board of Guerrilla Cartography.
Mike Vattuone, Developer
Mike has long had an interest in how the human mind interprets and interacts with technology. A self-taught full-stack developer with a degree in cognitive science from UC Berkeley, he takes delight in synthesizing user needs and business goals into meaningful and intuitive interfaces and applications that help rather than hinder. When he isn’t playing with new technology or studying human behavior, he’s probably playing an instrument or writing a song.
Trucy Phan, Developer and Designer
Trucy is an engineer, front-end web developer, graphic designer, and project manager who also enjoys baking and teaching people Swedish. Previously, Trucy studied Mechanical Engineering at The University of Iowa and Civil Engineering at UC Berkeley, worked at LBL and most recently attended Hacker School. She can code, design and handle just about anything else thrown at her.
Jedidiah Horne, Co-Founder (Emeritus)
Jed is probably the best Ms. Pacman player you’ll ever meet, and definitely the best Ms. Pacman player ever to have driven the Mexico City subway. At MIT, Jed’ spent his time hosting a popular radio program and writing movie reviews for its student-run newspaper (and picked up a little engineering knowledge along the way). He’s worked as a commercial real estate research analyst for Newmark Knight-Frank, studied city planning and transportation engineering as a graduate student at UC Berkeley, and now works Apple Computer. He is no longer directly involved in BlinkTag’s operations. Jed developed a taste for gambling in his native Big Easy, and tries to sneak trips to Reno whenever possible.