Philippine Transit App Challenge

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Last week, the DOTC launched the Philippine Transit App Challenge. It’s a competition to build something great using the newly available 1) jeepney/bus/rail routes and 2) traffic incident data in Metro Manila and Cebu.

I’m actually quite excited about this as it’s not everyday our government does wonderful things. Many people have been waiting for this kind of data to be available. Before, the only way to figure out which jeeps to ride to get from A to B is by asking other people. The website of the LTFRB used to just have a list of jeepney routes, but nothing else, no maps or list of stops.

During the launch, they also presented how CITOM (the Cebu MMDA) is pilot-testing a traffic tracking system. What they did was supply Android phones to taxi drivers. The phones send GPS data which can then be aggregated to see what the average speeds along streets are. This also benefits the taxi company as it provides easy tracking of their taxis compared to their old telephone/radio with pen-and-paper process.

The route data are already available, as well as the Cebu and Metro Manila incident data. You do have to register to access them though. Right now, they’re just one-off dumps of the data but the various agencies have promised to provide consistently updated data. This will be provided via ASTI later in the year.

I’ve just started looking at the route data and playing around with it. The quality could be better, but I’m glad we at least have something to work with.