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Manage urban services

Step 4

Start with pilot actions on a limited segment


Design quick actions initiating the digitalization of the urban service and its management.

The concept of “smart city” conveys the idea of quick optimisation of urban services on several levels, under the assumption of a single, centralised provider. Several points of application of this optimisation are possible:

  • Management of natural resources: planning the availability of resources, meteorological changes, peaks in consumption, reduction of transmission losses and wastage, adjustment of flows to demand, monitoring of quality, attenuation of air and ground pollution, reduction of energy needs.
  • Technical management of infrastructure: monitoring of the status and state of repair of the equipment, identification of leaks and fragilities, localisation of the cuts, identification of sensitive points, remote surveillance, and reduction of maintenance costs.
  • Commercial management: smart meters, computerised ticketing, complaints and claims services, payment facilities, on demand or pay-as-you-go Pay-as-you-go Payment for the service or on demand, which replaces the principle of a subscription by buying credit depending on consumption. services, expansion of customer base, reduction in overdues, change in user behaviour.
  • Operational management: data collection, budgetary management, remote commercial management, circuits for collection and navigation of the teams, inter-operator coordination, automation leading to a reduction of the possibilities of corruption and fraud, services supervision.

iTicket: automated transport ticket management
Dakar, Senegal

A system for automated management of transport tickets through the intermediary of a web and mobile platform.

In Dakar (Senegal), eight motorised journeys out of ten are on public transport. Among these journeys, 70% are by artisanal transport with almost 2,000 vehicles representing more than 50% of public transport journeys, or more than 500,000 passengers a day.

The Senegalese startup Amarante, which competed in 2016 Digital Africa supported by AFD, BPI and French Tech, has developed a system for the automated management of transport tickets through the intermediary of a web platform and a mobile application.

The system comprises two devices taken onboard by the drivers who are the partners of the initiative, a mini-printer and an Android telephone for geolocalisation and the printing of tickets. A tool for accounting and geolocalisation, a tool for planning and the clocking of staff are also available to operators and owners of minibuses for controlling drivers. The bus information acquired from onboard devices is transmitted to a server which can stand massive queries with no performance deterioration thanks to the cloud Cloud Cloud computing consists in exploiting the calculation power or storage capacity of remote servers. Through the intermediary of a network, generally the Internet, the information is saved, archived or processed online directly. The servers can be delocalised, and are hired on demand or as a package deal. This process avoids having to store data locally. architecture.

This information is centralised, processed and made available in real time and is broadcast in a mobile application for the general public called iTicket, available free of charge. A web application was developed specifically for the operators and users to provide traffic information. A web and mobile application allows passengers to buy tickets by bank card and store their ticket on their mobile phone in seconds.

In 2017 the system equipped almost 500 minibuses and the owners equipped saw their operating income increase by 40%.

Lessons learnt

  • A simple application enables better monitoring of drivers and contributes to the professionalization of the sector.
  • The application can generate a steep increase in operating revenue.

But ICT does not automatically solve all the difficulties of the local authorities in serving the entire territory, because this model assumes not only that there is already a universal and effective network of services, but also that the public sector has the capacity to monitor these digital arrangements. In developing cities, these two conditions are often far from being met.

In contexts where a large part of the services supply is informal, digital technology nonetheless has the potential to improve service provision through a number of advantages.

  • The optimisation of the complementarity of service providers by better communication: listing and mapping of informal providers, identification of the intersections between scopes of intervention or low coverage areas, price integration, knowledge of flows, etc.
  • The possibility of reaching populations that previously had no service: service supply adapted to their needs by door-to-door or on demand services, mobile payment, change of behaviour by online communication campaigns, dematerialised complaint management system…
Practical exercise

Identify quick, easy pilot actions to test the approach

List pilot actions that are simple and fast to meet demand and uses

Support the production and use of data information

  • Target a test action the municipality will take in charge either for production, collection, storage, processing, analysis or sharing
  • Target a type of data to be digitalized to improve the targeted service
  • Target the goal assigned to each test action: knowledge, forecast, control, and programming?
  • Identify the users of each test action: internally, third party public authorities, private sector, population?
  • Anticipate obstacles to each test action: storage capacity of an exponential quantity of data, harmonisation of data formats, etc.

Improve communication and exchanges between the stakeholders of the targeted service

  • Which stakeholders are the main beneficiaries of each test action: connected users, vulnerable population, the private sector, informal sector, NGOs?
  • Which priorities should be given to each test action: connect stakeholders who are not in contact, foster the emergence of new stakeholders, encourage new ways of exchanging?
  • What is the aim given to each test action: raise awareness, consult, open new markets, tax, inventory?
  • In what format should the communication be targeted for each test action: information campaigns, forums, call centres, social networks, merchant services?

Define the experimental scope of the actions

  • On each test action, which part of the territory is targeted?
  • On what user perimeter for each test action?
  • With what amplitude? Identify a specific problem, sector niche, pilot project, an action integrated into a zone.
  • Using a digital tool: a service application, sensors, the dematerialisation of a procedure?
Suggestion box

Digital tools for managing solid waste

  • Geolocalisation of recycling, resale, or waste collection points.
  • Sensors of filling rate of skips, collection points, landfill sites.
  • GPS on trucks to optimise collection circuits depending on traffic.
  • Pre-collection services on demand, door-to-door via SMS or application.
  • Mobile or automatic payment of fees or collection service.
  • Pricing by weight at collection time via connected scales.
  • Sorting at source encouraged by communication campaigns and collection points.
  • Systems to alert to hazardous waste dumping, full skips.

WeCyclers: selective precollection of waste
Lagos, Nigeria

An innovative recycling service for the people in underprivileged neighbourhoods in Lagos.

WeCyclers is a Nigerian enterprise founded in 2012 which offers a plastic recycling service adapted to the needs of the people living in underprivileged neighbourhoods in Lagos. The enterprise promotes sorting and recycling at source and covers an area not served by the municipal refuse collectors.

The collection is done door-to-door by three-wheel scooter, which makes it possible to enter the narrow streets of these neighbourhoods not covered by municipal collection. The collectors are equipped with connected scales and an application, on the basis of which the families earn a certain number of points. They are then offered domestic appliances depending on the volume of waste collected.

Thanks to this SME, in partnership with the Lagos Waste Management Authority which delegates management of the service to the private sector, many young people have been offered their first formal job.

Digital tools play the role of intermediary between the company and the households and provide immediate access to objective, transparent data that act as an incentive to sorting, while at the same time facilitating contacts for the service.

Lessons learnt

  • Digital technology can help extend the solid waste pre-collection service to areas not covered by the municipality.
  • The stakeholders of the social and solidarity economy can be supported by the municipal authorities to converge towards joint improvement of the urban service.
Suggestion box

Digital tools in urban mobility systems

  • GPS mapping and data collection from artisanal transportation lines and stops.
  • Real time information on telephone about passing and/or stopping times.
  • Integrated ticketing on card or telephone with mobile (pre)payment.
  • Geolocalisation of the ticket sale stations or kiosks.
  • Traffic speed limit compliance control.
  • Applications for monitoring traffic, accidents and car parks.
  • Applications encouraging intermodal integration of journeys.
  • Development of shared (car pooling) or on demand services.
  • Computer monitoring of the state of the fleets and maintenance deadlines.
  • User returns, online votes and opinions on service and driving quality.

Accra Mobile: innovative mapping of artisanal transportation
Accra, Ghana

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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