Poor mass transit disproportionally affects those living in the developing world, who either spend a greater portion of their income on motorised transport, or cannot afford to use it at all. GIF is proud to support WhereIsMyTransport, whose open data platform provides real-time transport information for use by third-party apps, allows for more efficient planning and regulation of mass transit systems by local governments, and makes transport more accessible, efficient, and safe for the poor.
We’re delighted to host this guest blog by Devin de Vries, CEO at WhereIsMyTransport.
Wherever there are people, there is transport. In the world’s emerging cities, that transport mix could include trains, Bus Rapid Transit, private bus services, e-hailing cabs, or informally run modes like minibus taxis, dalladallas, or their local equivalent. Emerging cities – those with a mix of formal and informally run public transport typically found in African countries – often find themselves with an abundance of public transport options, but a lack of information on how those options function.
Without accessible data on the routes, frequencies, schedules and fares of a city’s public transport operators, the ability to understand, engage, and plan is impeded – a problem which impacts passengers, operators, city governments, and anyone looking to understand how emerging cities function.
WhereIsMyTransport was founded to address this problem. We’re a technology and data company which believes that emerging cities present the biggest challenges and opportunities for the future. Our team of 40+ people work on projects from data collection to product development, creating simple, informative and reliable solutions to the public transport challenge. We believe that if you provide the information and tools to make public transport more accessible, you unlock the potential of cities and citizens.
Our first major step in addressing the public transport information challenge is the WhereIsMyTransport platform. The culmination of tens of thousands of hours of hard work, our open platform for integrated public transport data supports over 20 cities in Africa and the Middle East, offering data for formal and informally run public transport modes which can be used for any information-driven task, from journey planning tools to spatial design research. Developers and public transport advocates everywhere now have an open, intuitive tool to quickly get information from and build technical solutions on.
Our commitment to improving the understanding of public transport systems in emerging cities doesn’t stop at the WhereIsMyTransport platform. This year we’ll complete our ambitious project to map the informally run public transport networks in all South Africa’s major metros, and intend to expand our geographical reach soon afterwards.
We are constantly searching for new ways to both capture and present the data a city stakeholder needs, working with local partners, from individual enthusiasts to city mapping project partners, to capitalise on what is already in place.
Our teams have tracked thousands of kilometres of routes and invested thousands of hours developing products – all in the name of accessible public transport, and all driven by the belief that no city should be excluded from the opportunity and possibility that accessible information can offer.