How high-quality mobility and location data can lead to sustainable cities

Data collection using Collector — WhereIsMyTransport’s data collection tool — in Bandung, Indonesia

Fit for [its] intended uses in operations, decision making and planning”.

Quality data reflects some or all of the following characteristics:

  1. Relevance: Does the data serve the purposes of the user? For example, if the data is intended to inform site selection, does the Point of Interest (POI) Data provided support these evaluations?
  2. Accuracy: Does the dataset accurately reflect the information it is intended to? If a mobility and location data provider maps transport networks, are those networks comprehensive, and an accurate reflection of what’s happening on the ground in these markets?
  3. Credibility: Has data from this provider solved challenges in emerging markets in the past?
  4. Timeliness: Are there data maintenance processes in place to ensure freshness of data? At WhereIsMyTransport, our custom-built data management platform and local teams ensure the data we provide is consistently maintained and up to date.
  5. Interpretability: Can a client easily make use of the data provided? Our data assets are provided in global-standard formats — GTFS, POIs, and GTFS-R — making it easy to integrate into software applications.

“Climate change is going to amplify the already existing divide between those who have resources and those who do not,” Eliot Levine, Director of the environment technical support unit at Mercy Corps.

Bajaj drives through flooded streets in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Bajaj drives through flooded streets in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

“The world’s poorest communities often live on the most fragile land, and they are often politically, socially, and economically marginalised, making them especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.”

So what role does transportation play? Each year, transportation accounts for 15–20% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the globe. After the recent COP26 conference, Philip Turner, Head of Sustainability at UITP, had this to say:

The international gathering of world leaders, decision makers and stakeholders at COP26 in Glasgow comes at a crucial time for our planet, and tough, necessary decisions must be made. As a major solution to helping make our cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable for all, public transport must be at the heart of these discussions as we look towards a post-pandemic world.”

Many of the discussions at the COP26 centred around the electrification of vehicles. Yet the electrification of transport will look very different in developed and emerging markets. In this New Civil Engineer article, Devin de Vries, CEO of WhereIsMyTransport, shares his thoughts on how the electrification of vehicles benefits from an in-depth understanding of how people move around cities.

“The roadmap to reducing emissions in a city like Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam, where private vehicle ownership is low and public transport use is high, may look a lot different to reducing emissions in a city like London, for instance.” Devin de Vries, CEO of WhereIsMyTransport

Dala dala hub in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Passengers waiting at a bus stop in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Passengers at a bus stop in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Several people wait to board a Dala dala in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Several people wait to board a Dala dala in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania



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Stories about data, mobility, and the Majority World.