Ahmed Nashaat: Transport for Cairo to Map Transit Systems

Their goal is to be the first people to map the Egyptian’s city complicated public transit systems.

(PRUnderground) March 31st, 2017

A group of young Egyptians known as Transport for Cairo, or TfC, realize that a trip through the streets of Cairo on a given day can feel like an excursion through the jungle thanks to gridlock traffic and blaring horns. That is why their goal is to be the first people to map the Egyptian’s city complicated public transit systems.

The group features young adults with backgrounds in such areas as architecture, urban planning, economics, and civil engineering. According to TfC, motorists in Cairo wrestle with hours of unpredictable traffic, which makes it difficult for them to be productive in their daily lives. This problem affects about 66 percent of the Cairo region’s 20 million people who depend on the public transit systems. These individuals rely on formal buses and subways to arrive at their destinations, and in areas where these formal systems do not reach, the city uses its informal network of between about 20,000 and 80,000 microbuses that are privately run.

What makes navigating through Cairo on your own more difficult than navigating through New York City or London is that currently, no real-time transit updates or maps are available for guiding commuters, according to Cairo resident and engineer Ahmed Nashaat. The city does offer a map featuring its three metro lines, but little else is provided. In addition, the buses that the government operates do have schedules, they rarely go by them.

TfC’s goal is not merely to create a paper map of Cairo’s public transit systems but to create mobile transit apps as well. The data that the group is collecting feed into what is known as the General Transit Feed Specification, or GTFS, which allows public transit information to be shared openly among both application developers and transit agencies. Right now, GTFS works for networks with fixed schedules, but TfC would like to adapt this standard in an effort to make it work with the informal transit system in Cairo, too.

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