DT4A launched the DT4A Innovation Challenge in December 2021 to spotlight and award innovative urban mobility mapping initiatives. The first four winners of the DT4A Innovation Challenge were chosen in June 2022 from more than 100 submissions. AddisMap (Ethiopia), Ewarren (Côte d’Ivoire) and GoMetro (South Africa) are now in the midst of a 12-month implementation period and telling their stories of impact across Africa.
Explore the remarkable journeys of the DT4A Innovation Challenge winners as they share their firsthand experiences, insights, and achievements in this exclusive Q&A interview. Gain valuable insights into the implementation and impact of their innovative ideas, including the challenges they faced and the remarkable outcomes they achieved. Additionally, hear from transport officials representing cities that have directly benefited from these innovations, such as Abidjan and Addis Ababa. Learn from their expertise and discover the transformative potential of their groundbreaking solutions.
Alazar Tekle, Project Manager & GIS Expert, AddisMap
Our main motivation was our mission and objectives that were set during our initial inception. We wanted to contribute our share towards solving mobility (specifically public transport) challenges in Addis Ababa. Furthermore, we also want to make public transport data open and accessible to all and find a sustainable means to continuously update and maintain it. For our previous experiences we knew this was capital intensive work. Hence, we never wasted a second to apply for the DT4A Innovation Challenge once we received the announcement.
We had come across challenges during the more than one year implementation journey of the DT4A Innovation Grant. Some of them are during identification of data collectors and editors. We have assessed and engaged private organizations, local mappers and finally the Addis Ababa Transport Bureau. Through these engagements we have been able to conduct mass data updates for the minibus taxis. Finally, we just completed a mass data update of the City’s buses with the Addis Ababa Transport Bureau team that was supported through a rounds of training session and field tests by AddisMapTransit and DT4A. This was the best route for us to take as it would build the Bureau’s capacity and furthermore empower them to completely shift towards data-driven planning and monitoring solutions.
We learned that there is a significant benefit to working closely with the authorities and/or agencies that are at the core of the services and are the right stakeholders for such initiatives. There is also a high need to focus on knowledge transfer as it creates more solutions and empowers the people working on the issues. Just to add a few more points, the most interesting fact that we need to accept or know is that there is a shift of human resources in these institutions and organizations. The transition towards employing more upcoming youth from colleges and vocational schools. This means transitioning towards technological solutions in the daily monitoring, planning and operations of public services. This is a great indicator that similar technology-oriented companies should take a closer look at the current trends and provide support where necessary.
There are areas that could have been improved based on the lessons we learned but we still can work on them to avoid similar errors in the future. But the most we want to really improve on is creating a bridge between government offices and private organizations like ours so as to work on policies and laws that enhance collaboration and partnerships. But by also providing continuous capacity-building training and technical support we can still create the right atmosphere.
To mention just a few points our focus will be on two/three major directions; one is continuing collaboration with AATB, provide training and technical support where needed. The other is identifying key stakeholders and work on partnerships that will enable us to expand the digitization of public transport towards other cities and regions in Ethiopia. Finally, research and new features development that would enhance the current services AddisMapTransit is providing both as a team and the application itself.