Digital transport system for Nairobi.

10 Jul

Nairobi residents and visitors alike can now find their way in and around the capital using public transport, without necessarily having to stop strangers on the streets to ask for directions. This is thanks to some of the Kenyans finest brains collaborating with other development partners who have been researching and designing a smart sustainable transport system for Nairobi. Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis KIPPRA in conjunction with Nairobi university; Center for sustainable urban development Earth institute at COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY; GROUP-SHOT technology and Civic design data lab;have pulled together to create an open access data base for public transit for Nairobi.
I felt greatly honored to be invited to one of their workshop at Bishop gardens towers herein Nairobi. So far the team has designed software’s and other applications which they intend to integrate with the the public transport in Nairobi and come up with something similar to Google map but specifically designed for Kenya public transport routes. This application will help matatu drivers and other motorist get updates on traffic flow on their individual routes and also alternative link roads or bypasses.
During the workshop , we were shown demonstrations of how this public transport system data will be applied. The ma3route app which was developed by Nairobi’s own Laban Okune is available on the market. Some of its info on traffic is free; see users can get information about traffic updates; blocked or closed roads, accidents reports and other useful hints about traffic situation on a given area.It also provide info on alternative means of public transport for those who use other means of transport like boda boda ;trains and cabs/taxi.
In another presentation, we were shown how it will be easy to find your way in Nairobi using “Pangasafari” application. For instance,; if you live in githurai along Thika road and you want to go to the lands registry in kajiado, all you need to do is panga safari-this application, also available in most internet enabled phones and computers, will tell you where to board the matatu in githurai, the designated and non-designated bus stops; where to alight in Nairobi, which other vehicle to board to kajiado, where to find it; the type of road and distance of your trip.
The system which is still being upgraded will probably provide useful information to passengers who have no access to the internet by running digital screens in some public services vehicles. FLASH-CAST has already installed digital screens on some matatus plying ngong Nairobi route; where passengers get traffic updates and also contribute in debates-using short message services.
Once this system is completed, it will be a milestone in setting the way forward for matatu operators who want to remain relevant in this digital era and also in line with vision 2030′ It was very encouraging to me, personally; sitting among the architects of this great idea and listening to representatives of government agencies like KIPPRA whose responsibility is to advice the kenya government on key issues; discussing ways to improve service delivery in the matatu sector. This is a clear indication that the government is ready and willing to change the way public transport business is conducted in nairobi and my presence was another indication that they are interested in in-cooperating all stakeholders.
It is about time matatu drivers took their jobs serious and embrace this latest technology.students as young as those in class one will from next year be introduced to lap-tops,;the first step to information super high-way; Matatu drivers should not be left behind. Matatu owners should also take advantage of the open window to formulate their organizations to fully fledged modern transport companies.
The law is clear on how a matatu driver should be employed. The only thing that is missing is for the ministry concerned to make sure that we are permanently employed by our bosses and also for the salary and remunerations commission to say how much we should be paid for our 16hours of public service. From there we will know how to plan and find time to learn some computer skills.


Posted by on July 10, 2013 in Its life, Matatu matters


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2 responses to “Digital transport system for Nairobi.

  1. Kennedy Abuya

    July 15, 2013 at 8:28 am

    These are the great minds our good City of Nairobi needs, Congratulations Mr. James and the entire team

  2. Kendra Staley

    July 20, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    What a useful service to have! That’s great you were able to contribute to this project.


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