WhereIsMyTransport recently announced they are poised to be the first to collect a complete data set on formal and informal public transport in a majority of the world’s 30 largest cities. The company is on pace to complete the mapping by the end of 2023 and will manage and maintain all data sets, keeping them up to date as these cities expand.
“We have been working towards this since we began collecting public transport data in emerging markets in 2015,” explained Devin de Vries, CEO of WhereIsMyTransport. “Today, nobody is better positioned than WhereIsMyTransport to take on a data collection program at this scale.”
Transforming Public Transportation
Currently, WhereIsMyTransport maintains data sets for the public transport networks in Mexico City, Dhaka, and the province of Gauteng in South Africa. These areas collectively are home to more than 55 million people. The company will collect public transportation data in the remaining 27 cities between now and 2023, of which 19 are megacities with populations greater than 10 million.
“The production and maintenance of this mobility data is a fundamental first step towards transforming the public transport experience for hundreds of millions of people, and with it the social, cultural and economic landscape of these cities,” de Vries said.
Using Data to Gain a Better Picture
de Vries notes that, of the 30 metropolitan areas they are mapping, informal public transportation serves up to 80 percent of the population. These cites have a nearly endless amount of routes and accommodate tens of thousands of vehicles daily. de Vries says with little or no operational information publicly available right now, few things can be done to help citizens economize their daily commute, which can take upwards of five hours.
“We recruit large local teams, train them to use our proprietary suite of tools, and work alongside them to collect data on the public transport networks that they know better than anybody,” he explained. “This collaborative method means we uncover every nuance in these unique, home-grown transport systems.”
How The Data Collectors Work
Data collectors for WhereIsMyTransport work on the ground to capture data on thousands of routes, and meticulously map entrances, exits, stairs, gates, platforms, and other essential landmarks at stations and interchanges. “We manage and maintain our data, updating it weekly, and integrating it with consumer products and planning tools that support a better public transport experience for everyone, everywhere,” de Vries added. “The result is unmatched mapping quality, and the first time that any of these 30 cities will have complete data that meets global standards for public transport information.”