Improving and expanding high quality and affordable public transport across the globe is key to combatting inequality, increasing opportunity and access, addressing the public health crises of traffic crashes and air pollution, and reducing harmful carbon emissions. Sharing and leveraging open, standardized public transport data for all modes including walking, cycling and popular or “informal” transport is a critical tool for improved planning, operations, investment decisions and overall transparency and accountability. Yet, even as digital technologies are increasing the amount and kinds of data, too often in cities and regions across the globe including in Africa, transport data is missing or inaccessible to cities, residents, planners and innovators working to improve public transport.
DigitaTransport4Africa (DT4A) represents a large, diverse network of city governments, residents, universities, civic technology companies and collectives as well as international development partners committed to building digital commons and applying the Digital Principles of Development to the goals of Sustainable Urban Mobility and Access.
With this in mind, we pledge to:
1) Advance safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable urban transport systems for all as described by Sustainable Development Goal 11.2. Our vision is underpinned by four policy goals adapted to the unique transportation landscape of urban Africa:
- Universal Access—connect all communities, with an emphasis on vulnerable groups including women and children, people living with disabilities and those living in extreme poverty, to the necessary opportunities and resources for urban life.
- Efficiency—improve the reliability, affordability, and quality of public transport services inclusive of all formal, semi-formal and informal transit providers.
- Safety—greatly reduce traffic-related fatalities, injuries and crashes.
- Green—minimize the negative environmental impact of mobility, which includes greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
2) Actively support
- User-centered Design by focusing more on passenger needs and participatory data collection
- Collaboration by fostering eco-systems and local capacities for data collection, updating and use.
- Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source, and Open Innovation
- Privacy and Security and the highest ethical standards seeking to protect people and avoid harm.
3) Follow the definition in the Open Data Handbook where open data is defined as data that can be “freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone.” The key attributes of open data are:
- Availability and Access—data must be easily accessed, preferably by downloading over the internet. The data must also be available in a convenient and modifiable form.
- Re-use and Redistribution—data must be provided under terms that permit re-use and redistribution.
- Universal Participation—everyone must be able to use, re-use and redistribute. There should be no discrimination against fields of endeavor or against persons or groups.
“Good” open data can be easily shared and is available in a standard, structured format that facilitates consistency over time and trustworthiness. Standards such as GTFS allow for transit data integration and interoperability as well as the use of a wide array of open-source tools, saving time and money for agencies and allowing for more transit comparability across cities. Such standards must be improved and developed to be inclusive and allow for new forms of information needed by passengers.
In sum, we believe building digital commons using the Digital Principles of Development is critical to attaining the goals of safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable urban transport systems for all which in turn is critical to making cities more equitable, livable and healthy while addressing our climate crisis.
Who can be DT4A Partner?
DT4A Partners can be any public, private or academic entity, local or international, committed to the DT4A pledge. Partners must thus have strong commitment to improving public transport by leveraging the digital principles for development. DT4A is a collaborative community of practice where partners are invited to be active members by proposing new projects and ideas, actively networking, sharing data and knowledge as well as engaging in Dt4A public workshops, presentations or hackathons.
DT4A is coordinated through a steering committee that has an advisory and management role on the DT4A consortium. The committee is made up of our founding members. Today, the committee includes
- World Resources Institute
- French Development Agency
- Earth Institute, Columbia University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- World Bank
Want to share data with the international urban mobility community, or become a Partner? We invite you to take the Pledge. For more information contact email@example.com.