By Guillaume Boniface-Chang, Head of Product at WhereIsMyTransport
Our approach at WhereIsMyTransport is unique because we look at the whole public transport network, not only the services provided by government bodies.
That means looking at the fragmented, privately-operated routes that sit within the informal economy that represent, in some cities, the most-used “public” transport option.
At WhereIsMyTransport, we are a technology company that does not simply aggregate information — we produce entirely new mobility data. For cities in the Majority World, we create comprehensive data sets of public transport environments from scratch, starting with the truth on the ground.
Our work requires a combination of proprietary tools and processes, but that work is worth the effort. For commuters using our Android app Rumbo, the advantage is clear. Our mobility data means that, for the first time, passengers can see their journey alternatives, cutting down on commute times, and improving their public transport experience.
WhereIsMyTransport is thrilled to announce our Series A extension, raising an additional $14.5 million, and furthering our mission to empower people everywhere to get where they need to go. Rapidly changing public transport networks, accentuated during the pandemic, have proven the value and importance of a central mobility data source that you can trust — and this is precisely what WhereIsMyTransport provides.
We are welcoming an exciting group of new investors to our journey, each making a unique contribution and helping us deepen our mobility data offerings. …
WhereIsMyTransport believes in the positive impact digitalisation can have in emerging-market megacities — places that are asset-rich, but information-poor. Finding your way through a city’s web of public transport routes can be an insurmountable obstacle for many at the best of times, but especially when journeys don’t go to plan.
Our mission is to make the invisible visible, producing mobility data from the Majority World’s public transport networks — whether operating flexibly, or following fixed routes and timetables — and serving as a central source of that data for commuters, businesses, and institutions.
At WhereIsMyTransport, we believe that public transport has an essential role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and local emissions, and improving quality of life. We encourage urban citizens to continue to use public transport, improving the experience through access to better information. Our CEO Devin de Vries recently wrote about sustainability’s central role in our mission in Reuters Sustainable Business.
The stakes are high. Transport is the world’s fourth-biggest emitting sector of greenhouse gases, yet sales of fuel-guzzling SUVs continue to rise around the world. As incomes rise for the world’s 3.2 billion emerging-markets urban residents, more people…
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted public transport systems around the world, cutting into ridership and revenue, even as essential workers — and entire economies — continue to depend on reliable service.
Developed-market commuters have generally received swift updates on changes as public transport agencies cut back services or rearrange bus routes to respond to shifting demand. However, as we note in our recent feature in Digitalisation World, service updates are harder to come by in emerging-market cities. 92% of the world’s largest lower-middle income cities lack full public transport network maps, let alone data on frequencies or fare levels.
You may not have known that Mexico City, home to Latin America’s largest and oldest metro system, also boasts an extensive network of informal modes — known locally as colectivos — that has more than ten times as many routes. If you didn’t know that, you’re not alone — until 2018, no one in the world did.
That’s because no one had mapped all 2,000+ routes in the network. The system exists entirely organically, run by independent private operators.
In a recent article for Dataversity, our CEO Devin de Vries argues that the common model of informal public transport in the Majority World can improve mobility in developed-market cities as well.
The Majority World is an alternative term for developing countries. We like it here at WhereIsMyTransport because it reveals an important truth: Most urban-dwellers live in places that are very different from London, Paris, or New York. Some 3.2 billion people live in Majority-World cities — places like Rio de Janeiro, Kampala, and Bangkok.
In the Majority World, public transport is mostly informal. Private operators run 12- to…
Devin de Vries is CEO and co-founder of WhereIsMyTransport. He spoke with Joe Peach, our Communications Director, from the WhereIsMyTransport office in Mexico City, discussing the challenges and opportunities in public transport data collection in emerging-market cities .
JP: WhereIsMyTransport has committed to mapping the public transport networks of the Majority World’s 30 largest cities. What’s the background to this goal?
DdV: WhereIsMyTransport’s mission has always been to transform the public transport experience for people who live in emerging markets — places where billions of people rely on informal transport, yet there is typically no information on networks or vehicle…