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.
Rudi Kriel, Transport Economist, GoMetro
GoMetro’s motivation for participating in the DT4A Innovation Challenge 2021 was driven by the pressing challenges faced by the minibus taxi (MBT) industry in South Africa and the broader urban transportation sector in Africa to find decarbonization opportunities for the informal sector. The key challenges in the GoMetro project that our innovation aimed to address was:
Unwillingness of MBT Operators to Participate until they understood the project better: Some MBT operators were initially hesitant to participate in data collection due to concerns that GoMetro might share data with regulators that could result in penalties for illegal operations. To overcome this challenge, GoMetro employed the following strategies:
Our experience highlights the complexities of working within the informal transport sector and the importance of flexibility and persistence in data collection initiatives.
Seeing government entities recognize the importance of transitioning to electric minibuses and taking steps to facilitate this transition are a pivotal moment. Partnering with government institutions enhanced the credibility and legitimacy of the project. It also helped build trust within the community and among stakeholders. Further, Government agencies possess valuable data and insights relevant to the project.
The project has highlighted the power of reliable data in informing policy decisions and sustainable urban transportation planning. Given the incredible success of the initial project, there are opportunities to scale up the transition to e-MBTs in other regions of South Africa or even expand the initiative to neighbouring countries facing similar transportation challenges. Building on the project’s success, advocacy for supportive government policies, incentives, and regulations for electric vehicle adoption are even more effective, helping accelerate the transition further. Continued and expanded engagement with communities, passengers, and stakeholders could foster even greater acceptance and support for e-MBTs, solidifying their role as a sustainable transportation option.
With a proven track record of success, the project is now working to attract more partners and funding sources to profile and develop more sites, enabling the first 2 hubs to go live next year.