Every day, 30,000 public buses transport more than 14 million citizens in Mexico City. This is the world’s largest public bus system composed of more than 1,500 trajectories. However, due to the complex dynamic transportation system and magnitude, citizens nor the government have validated data on the origin, destin and trajectories of these buses. The capacity to generate this information supased the resources and capacities of the government and thus this opened an opportunity of intersectoral collaboration and test the power of user mobilization and open, participatory processes.
Based on this context, in February 2015, PIDES Social Innovation, together with the Ministry of Transportation of Mexico City (SEMOVI), the Center for Transportation Transfers (CETRAM) and the Lab for the City came together to explore the opportunity of creating an open open government case study applied to the improvement of public transportation (concessioned transport systems) through the creation of its first open data set. These four actors invited more people from civil society and startups to participate in a working group including: Ally, CTS Embarq, ITDP México, Krieger Electronics, M+urbano, Planeación & Desarrollo, Transconsult and Urban Launch Pad. The project was named Mapatón CDMX, which implemented a crowdsource, technology based and open data strategy to achieve its goals.
The working group advised the creation of an app that uses gamification principles to incentivize public participation to map the bus trajectories. The final version was the result of four iteration processes and pilot cases with university students and citizen voluntaries, bus chauffeurs and members of the working group.
This is the first time in Mexico City that there is a collaborative framework among civil society and government that enables a city wide call to generate open data through collective action. Mapatón was officially launched in a press conference on January 16th with the presence of the SubMinister of Transportation, Laura Ballesteros, and representatives of the working group. The participation period for Mapatón CDMX is during January 29th to February 14th. There will be prizes for those who earn the most number of points mapping.
The final result of this exercise will be a General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format data set and the first of its kind (Application Programming Interface) API containing the obtained data in open formats. The aim is for any user to use freely the data provided by this GTFS, including specialized government officials in data management, programing, innovation and mobility among other sectors.
This project is a concrete example of the power of open government, applying all the open government principles and translating them into actions: fostering more transparent and open government practices, open data, civic participation and the strategic use of technology to solve public challenges. The next step will be the use, adoption and/or integration of this GTF data set and API from different sectors to drive more effective public decisions, economic activity and produce practical solutions to citizens and users.