07 Feb World’s first open platform for public transport data in emerging cities
WhereIsMyTransport is a rapidly growing, Cape Town-based technology start up that is redefining public transport in emerging cities mainly through Africa. They provide an integrated public transport platform that enables cities, operators, and developers to optimize service and bring a scalable, sustainable solution to public transport, specifically in emerging markets with a high degree of informal transport.
WhereIsMyTransport’s 13 local data collectors spent three weeks recording taxi journeys in Cape Town, mapping 657 unique routes, covering 8 870 km’s, and capturing 1 482 of the most commonly used stops, with an average journey cost of R10.86 ($0.80).
These data points have been added to the WhereIsMyTransport platform alongside data for the city’s formal transport network to provide a complete picture of all of the transport options available to residents of the city.
Devin De Vries, co-founder of WhereIsMyTransport, comments: “Fully mapping Cape Town is a phenomenal achievement for our team. We’ve demonstrated that complex transport systems can be mapped at a much lower cost than many cities believe. With our efficient technology and methodology, even large cities don’t need to spend millions to map their networks.
“We have already mapped two more cities and will be releasing data for South Africa’s major metros this year. And that’s just the beginning: we’re excited by the potential for cities across Africa.”
Cape Town will be followed by East London and Gaborone in March 2017. WhereIsMyTransport will continue collecting taxi network data in South Africa’s major cities including Port Elizabeth, Durban, Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, and Bloemfontein, all due to be complete by mid-2017.
The company is in discussion with cities and local partners with the intention of fully mapping 20 African cities by the end of 2018. It already holds data on informally-run networks in Accra and Nairobi.
While the company currently works with its own team to collect data, it has also created a toolkit to enable any individual, organisation, or city to map their transport network. The toolkit includes a purpose-built app, methodology and planning techniques for tackling even the most sprawling cities, and support from the WhereIsMyTransport team to make data available through the platform.
The WhereIsMyTransport platform allows developers, transport operators and government officials to build solutions like journey planners, fare estimators, communications tools and connected digital signage, improving access to public transport information for citizens in emerging cities, as well as providing insight and analytics to aid city planning.
Graeme Leighton, data collection co-ordinator for WhereIsMyTransport, says: “We believe that the information challenge in South African cities undermines our infrastructure. We want to make the systems that exist more accessible for everyone. In Cape Town, every assumption we had about the network was challenged. We discovered dozens of previously unknown routes, and found many documented routes no longer operated.
“We invite others to put their own cities on the map and make their systems more accessible,” he adds “Our tools are available to anyone interested in contributing to our platform, the world’s first open platform for public transport data in emerging cities.”