Democratizing Transport Data; a sustainable approach to end traffic congestion/jam.

Background Information Bus Open Data Service

In this era of technological disruption, many metropolitan regions globally are struggling with traffic congestion. Our own capital city, Nairobi is not an exception, though. The phenomenon is attributed to high rate at which motor-vehicle industry products are consumed globally, and Kenya is not an exception. As at July 2019, the Kenya New Vehicle Registrations stated that averagely 32441 new vehicles had been registered. This indicate upward growth rate on how citizens are buying vehicles used on the existential narrow road networks.

To mitigate this epidemic, UK government decided on democratizing bus transportation data as a noble step towards realization of less traffic congested cities. This was based on a survey done among the UK citizens who uses bus transportation. From the survey, a strong desire amongst the passengers for a centralized source of information about bus times, routes, fares and onboard incentives is imminent. This resulted to an innovative proposal of the Bus Open Data Service- a standardized  platform that publish information from the bus operators, which can be leveraged by programmers to develop  robust solutions for assisting users in streamlining their journey.

What Kenya Government can learn from UK’s Innovation?

To harness the inherent transforming power of data and technology, the Kenyan government should empower various firms by catering data for making applications that can provide real-time information. This will enable users to plan their journey quickly and effectively.

Besides, the initiative will also aid bus service operators to optimize their offering for avoiding traffics.

Most of the mitigating measures the government has taken are revolving around improving infrastructure by erecting metros, widening roads and robust railways. However, such solutions take long to implement to completion resulting in ineffective solution in the short-term. While it does help in the longer run, the critical situation demand quick approach.

Becoming data-driven is essential to optimize the user experience. Our government needs to learn from the UK’s bus open data services and advise a plan to expedite its initiative of decongesting the cities.