USING DATA TO DESIGN EFFECTIVE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN AFRICA
Gisaia proposes HAKIKA, a systematic solution to build public transport data banks and geoanalytics for effective public transit planning and management.
May, 19th 2022
UNDERSTANDING THE PUBLIC TRANSPORT NETWORK IN PLACE
In many cities in Africa, public transportation is only licenced by public authorities then run independently by private entities. This means that often, authorities cannot ensure effective services to travellers. Private owners, while providing a valuable service, tend to prioritise their business interests first. However, they would all benefit from an optimised and well managed transport network .
Authorities want to ensure fair mobility with services reaching as many travellers as possible, while service providers seek fast routes and filling times to optimise their fuel and expenses for positive returns.Therefore, although travellers in Africa want to go far, and fast, like everywhere in the world, they are stuck in the middle with uncertainties at many levels: they cannot confidently say how far they have to walk to catch a bus, when it will show up or how long the journey will take to their destination.
However, these challenges have solutions: Public transport authorities, when equipped with the right tools, can ensure reliable services for the travellers.
They can act as bridges between the service providers and the users to ensure equitable distribution of services.
Among the many indicators on public transport efficiency, there are three key ones. Frequency. Accessibility. Reliability. How can authorities assess and gauge them especially in a complex public transport network: many routes, many operators with diverse transport modes?
Gisaïa developed arlas.city to help address this very challenge. arlas.city is a timely solution which offers public transport decision-makers the opportunity to get a global view of the system in place. It merges, realigns and visualises public transport data that is often in silos, over time and space.
Africities presents us with the possibility to meet the relevant public transport stakeholders: authorities, operators and researchers who can take advantage of our project HAKIKA, to develop a robust public transport data bank and explore these data for decision making. HAKIKA is a word in Kiswahili that means: ‘to be sure’.
THE VALUE OF A PUBLIC TRANSPORT DATA BANK
In the era of big data, Africa is not left behind. From health to education and even technology, in both public and private sectors, Africa is not shy to build digital knowledge bases and consult them for decision making.
But only a few African cities have a public transport data bank, and in fact most cities lack it. This rich resource would not only inform authorities in African cities of their public mobility situation, but it could also allow them to proactively avoid errors made in western countries before they started consulting data ( underserved areas, long waiting times, poor connection between intermode changes, among others) when designing their networks and services.
Most African cities are young and currently experiencing rapid growth in population, And in Africa, more than anywhere else, city travellers rely on public transportation to meet their social and economic needs. A trend that should be encouraged because shared transportation is shown to have many benefits for both travellers and the environment. The global push to get more people to use shared transportation can be guided in Africa, as it is in other places, by data-based analytics.
The HAKIKA project proposed by Gisaia offers:
- A systematic approach to generate data.
- A reliable system to transform the data to global standards
- A scalable solution, arlas.city, to put this data insights into the hands of decision makers
To generate the data, HAKIKA relies on a robust device developed by CLS.
CLS is a company that provides tracking technology for various uses: animals, ships, road vehicles and more. Their solution is based on satellite technology to guarantee systematic and uninterrupted data collection.
To transform the data, Gisaia leverages its data engineering and data scientists team : they use machine learning to produce algorithms to standardise the data. This step gives the data points generated the capacity to be extensively analysed and to provide valuable insights on the service offer.
But data banks are only useful when exploited.
DATA-BACKED DECISION MAKING
The value of generating and maintaining a public transport data bank is to use it for service optimisation for effective public mobility.
HAKIKA’s third axis is based on arlas.city, a powerful geoanalytics cloud solution built on the latest big data technologies.
This allows arlas.city users anywhere, anytime to explore, visualise and analyse massive and diverse public transit data. Authorities can, for instance, use it to quickly identify bottlenecks. They can also identify underserved, or overserviced areas, and take action to ensure more efficient and equitable services.
Contact us to book a demo in advance