A friend shared with me recently that she often ends up being late to work, which results in a portion of her monthly salary being deducted. And the cause of this unintentional “late” arrival is simply the inconsistent and unpredictable commute traffic she has to deal with daily. She leaves home at the same time every working day and always arrives at a completely different time.
“With all the technology that surrounds us, isn’t there a solution; a way to be alerted when a road is blocked, traffic is jammed or roads are diverted?” she asked.
Well, there is; and many countries, cities and companies are using technology to tackle some of these as well as other issues
related to transportation. She’s not the only one facing this issue as I hear horror stories almost everyday. So I compiled a list of “top ten apps about traffic and transportation” – which includes some very creative and practical applications from around eight different countries which are all designed to improve the user experience and provide simple solutions to the problems we often face when it comes to transport.
In Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, for instance volunteers came together to compile the first bus route map. The map helped 5 million commuters who use the bus on a daily basis to get around the city, as only 1% of the population own a car. The project, was displayed on Kickstarter and got its required funding in Jan 2013. The map can now be accessed via the mobile.
In India another very innovative idea focused on crowd-sourcing to raise awareness of the real cost of traffic violations. In India, 80% of traffic fines don’t exceed Rs.100 (about QAR 6), but due to an ignorance about the real fine amount, many Indians often end up paying a lot more! Traffic Fines India is aimed at minimizing the payment of bribes. It keeps users informed about their traffic fines without having to be online. The app, which covers six main Indian cities, updates users with information on various traffic offenses and fines associated to any specific car.
In Egypt, a prominent Arabic proverb “ needs are mother to all kind of innovations,” has resulted in a simple solution to the issue of daily traffic dilemma, millions of Egyptians face every hour. Bey2ollak is a simple localized cross platform mobile application for people to exchange info about traffic that uses the power of crowd-sourcing and social interaction, localization and above all simplicity.
Bey2ollak, is considered to be one of the most successful such apps in Egypt. It has over 1 million registered users, 250,000 Facebook fans and 119,000 Twitter followers. In days of political unrest, where lots of streets got blocked, 30,000 requests came in per minute.
Kenya too has seen innovation in this space. Traffic congestion is a major issue in Nairobi. Ma3Route is a dynamic real-time service that aims to update its users to current traffic patterns by being linked to social media. Citizens of Nairobi subscribe to traffic feeds on specified routes to receive live updates as soon as news about traffic on that route is posted. Ma3Route is interconnected with Twitter and users can post – and read – all received traffic updates onto Twitter.
Find out more about traffic related innovations in our Top Ten below.
What traffic innovations have you seen and used? Or would you like to see invented?