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Accra, Ghana

Accra Mobile: innovative mapping of artisanal transportation

A mapping service for obtaining information on informal transportation lines and the service level.

In Accra, 70% of daily commuting is by informal minibus (tro tro). The aim of the project was to acquire knowledge quickly and inexpensively about the tro tro services covering the groups of operators, roads, service level and information on the routes covered. The project was implemented using a Smartphone application and onboard surveyors collecting real time geo-data.

Tro tro

The secondary goal is to develop methodology that can be supported for upscaling and duplicating this type of project in other cities.

The project was launched by AFD in partnership with the Department of Transport (DoTs) and Concordia University, based on a hackathon organised in 2016 mobilising Accra mobility data.

Phase 1 identified more than 300 tro tro lines, phase 2 provided detailed qualification of the service level of the 60 main lines and phase 3 formalised a protocol for the automatic data acquisition and exploitation, authorising operators to perform updates.

The mapping, developed with Transitec (French consulting firm specialising in mobility issues) and Jungle Bus (a start-up that has worked on collaborative mapping of Accra), makes use of OpenStreetMap. The website provides access to the Accra Tro Tro map and the service level of the lines.

Lessons learnt

  • An open innovation approach led to a collaborative mapping prototype of artisanal transport based on a new generation of data provided by the surveyors’ smartphones.
  • Improving knowledge of the artisanal supply makes it possible to improve the efficiency of the mobility system on the scale of the whole city.

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