A South African firm has secured investment of £1.165 million to proceed with the release of a new transit API that will offer developers and citizens in the country access to a huge wealth of information on the nation’s transport.
WhereIsMyTransport’s API is the first resource in the country for collating and distributing formal and informal data on transportation from real-time and static sources. This will allow the behaviour of any form of transport – including city buses, metro systems or privately-owned buses and minibus taxis – to be mapped and analysed.
As well as supporting the development of consumer-focused apps for smartphones, such as fare estimators and traffic alert systems, the information gathered will be hugely valuable to transport planners looking to make better-informed decisions on key infrastructure investments.
Devin de Vries, co-founder of WhereIsMyTransport, stated: “The platform that we are launching today is the first open platform for integrated transit data in the emerging world. It creates a foundation for cities and innovators to bring much-needed access and information about mobility to millions of people.”
While journey mapping solutions have become commonplace in developed economies such as western Europe, it is expected that the introduction of such technology to locations such as South Africa could have a huge impact on how key transport systems are designed and managed.
In emerging cities, delays and changes to journey routes are common, while commuting costs can account for up to 46 per cent of an individual’s monthly income, WhereIsMyTransport noted. In South Africa alone, it estimated that transport uncertainty costs the economy some $104 billion every year.
So far, the company has added almost 10,000 stops along 40,000km of routes to the platform, and it contains formal transport information for Johannesburg, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, George, and East London. Informal transit modes are also being added to the platform, starting with the matatu system of privately-owned minibuses in Nairobi, Kenya. This capability is set to be extended to other cities and agencies over the coming months.