Digital Matatus is a key player in the movement to make transportation in the developing world more efficient and open. A collaborative project of the University of Nairobi, Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Urban Development, MIT’s Civic Data Design Lab, and Groupshot, the project collects and standardizes transit data for Nairobi’s Matatu system—the city’s decentralized city bus system—making it open and available to the public for the first time.
Digital Matatus developed and deployed purpose-built mobile phone apps to more efficiently collect location data of Nairobi’s buses. The information gathered through this crowdsourcing method was used to produce standardized bus routes for the city, now available in a full city-wide bus map released in January 2014. The next step is to expand the tools and methodology globally.
In 2017 the Digital Matatus Team joined forces with Transport for Cairo and launched Digital Cairo with support from the Dubai Expo 2020. We are currently expanding our work to the massive city of Cairo and learning even more about how informal transport and technology collide in a mega-city.
As experts on informal transport in developing world cities we spend a lot of time thinking about how technology is making transport more informal around the world. Ride share companies are bringing about a wave of new mobility that means Nairobi and San Francisco, Cairo and Boston, Mexico City and London are sharing more and more of the same mobility challenges.