Six use cases for mobility and location data in 2022

“WhereIsMyTransport is collecting so much data that no one has ever been able to do in emerging markets before. And the value is not just the fixed data sets. When you marry data sets with other data sets, you unlock their true power. I look at it as a wonderful space of abundance.” — Danielle J. Harris, Managing Director of Engagement & Innovation at Elemental Excelerator, in our white paper: Navigating Growth.

At WhereIsMyTransport, we offer three types of mobility and location data for emerging markets: Transit Data, Point of Interest (POI) Data, and Real-Time Alerts. In this blog post, we explore the opportunities created by our Transit Data offering.

Transit Data features

Our Transit Data provides detailed information on the entire public transport network in emerging markets, including:

  • All routes
  • Service operating times
  • Fare information
  • Accessibility data
  • Vehicle attributes (information on WiFi, AC, dedicated seats, etc.)

These attributes can be analysed, compared, and contrasted, giving you insights grounded in data. Because this data is available from a single source, our Transit Data reflects reality: it’s the mobility ground truth of emerging markets.

Why is this important?

Emerging markets typically have digitalised public transport information to varying degrees. Some lack data entirely, while others have some data available — but not from a central source. At WhereIsMyTransport, we’ve changed this, providing our clients with complete and accurate public transport network data in GTFS format — the global standard for public transport data.

With high-quality mobility data, companies can identify not only where and how people move, but the opportunities presented by these trends.

So, what are the opportunities?

1: Localise existing services or create new offerings

High quality mobility data that reflects the ground truth of emerging markets makes it easier than ever to localise existing services, or create new offerings. So how is this possible?

Case study: Our Transit Data helped Google enrich their Google Maps user experience in Mexico City. With the city’s network of colectivos (informal public transport modes) over 10 times the size of its formal system, Google was able to deliver results informed by the ground truth of the city thanks to our public transport data. Find out more here.

Future opportunities: In our recent white paper, our experts explore Bangkok’s multi-modal public transport network. In Bangkok, nearly 3.5 million people rely on public transport to get where they need to go. Every day, people spend an average of two hours on journeys that combine many of the city’s transport modes and nodes. At WhereIsMyTransport, we’ve mapped where and how these people travel to get where they need to go. View the white paper to learn more about the mobility ground truth in Bangkok, Thailand.

2: Shape urban and transport planning projects, and respond to growth trends

Accurate and complete data sets that are consistently maintained means your organisation can access the information it needs to solve real-world problems.

Case Study: Engineering firm WSP contracted WhereIsMyTransport to collect public transport network data from the trolley bus and tram systems in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. We found that over 75% of minibus trips in Sarajevo were not completed due to lack of available fleet. This meant passengers waiting for up to an hour only to find services not running, with some ultimately choosing other modes of transport, such as private vehicles, due to the reliability of the city’s public transport.

How did WSP use this data?

Digitalising ridership data from the tram and trolleybus system provided WSP with the ground truth of mobility in Sarajevo. Our data supported:

1) The identification of routes which would benefit from new rolling stock

2) Evaluations of induced additional passenger demand and users continuing to use public transport over private vehicles.

3) Demand forecasting and cost-benefit analysis models for fleet renewals

4) Improved understanding of the financial impact of upgrading Sarajevo’s transport system

5) Evidence-based recommendations for Sarajevo’s transport network stakeholders.

This data was essential for creating an accurate and reliable due diligence report in support of an infrastructure investment loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Find out more here.

3: Address challenges in emerging markets through complete, reliability mobility and location data

The challenge in Bangkok? There are over 20 different agencies responsible for traffic management, planning, and infrastructure. However, the lack of integration between these agencies, in addition to a high number of privately owned vehicles, make Bangkok’s traffic a growing issue.

The data opportunity? When we know how people move, city challenges such as traffic congestion, can be understood, addressed, and improved. View our white paper to find out more about the mobility ground truth in Bangkok, Thailand.

4: Make informed location investments in high-growth markets, benefiting from an understanding of movement and place

Did you know that less than one in ten households own a car in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania? As a result, 43% of commuters use public transport to get to and from work daily.

Having a complete and accurate picture of how people move lets you know where people are, and where you could be investing. With this information, you could take your business further, leveraging accurate and reliable mobility data to make informed location investments.

View our white paper to discover the mobility ground truth in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

5: Identify economic impact and opportunity in emerging markets, combining high-frequency mobility data with demographic data and other demand proxies

Case Study: Data collection from informal transport systems is critical for developing a truly comprehensive understanding of emerging markets — places where the majority of citizens rely on informal modes to access opportunities.

The World Bank engaged WhereIsMyTransport to provide comprehensive public transport network data for multiple African cities, and used that data to inform their investment decisions. Our mobility data informed numerous accessibility evaluations, including access to job opportunities via public transport in Southern Africa, West Africa and East Africa.

“Our task teams are able to use [data from WhereIsMyTransport] to provide insights into otherwise opaque markets,” — Steven Rubinyi, World Bank.

Future opportunities: An example of a previously-opaque market is Lima, Peru, where most data providers offer outdated information that covers just a fraction of the public transport network. WhereIsMyTransport’s mobility and location data offering for Lima changes that. Find out more in our latest white paper here.

6: Invest in a sustainable future

In developed markets, moving the average car trip to a bus can cut carbon emissions by more than half. Even informal transport vehicles in emerging markets release 4–8 times lower emissions than a private car. In Manila, for example, preventing just 1% of commuters from buying a car saves 630,000+ tonnes of carbon dioxide every year — equivalent to annual emissions from about 110,000 people in the UK.

Investing in a sustainable future involves investing in public transport networks in emerging markets, and making them more accessible for the people who live there.

Read more: Why Choosing Sustainability Means Making Public Transport a Commuter’s Top Choice

Further reading

Navigating Growth: Perspectives on the future of mobility, technology, and emerging markets

Understanding the mobility ground truth in Bangkok

Understanding the mobility ground truth in Dar es Salaam

Understanding the mobility ground truth in Lima