And the winner is…
BYBUS received the most votes and was particularly supported by libraries outside of the center of Belo Horizonte and outside of Porto Alegre.
“When will the bus arrive?”
In Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre, getting around using public transportation was the main topic. Of primary concern was the safety of bus stops and how to spend less time waiting for the bus, particularly when it was dark or very hot.
And the winner is…
ByBus received the most votes and was particularly supported by communities outside the city centers of Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre.
Designing a Process
Caravan Studios researched the landscape of real time transit apps in the region, and realized that there are a number of apps available in Brazil. So why did so many of the public voters show their support for an app if there were so many options available for free?
It turns out that in many regions--Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre included--transit system data is not organized in the proper format to display in mobile apps. In other words, the bus company, or the local government, had not yet structured or made available bus arrival times and bus stop locations, so there was no data to be shown in transit apps.
Instead of building a mobile app, the team decided to build a process by which community members map their city’s transit system. Collaborating with the excellent library staff from Farroupilha, Rio Grande do Sul, where ByBus received an overwhelming share of the votes, the team set out to map the bus data.
Along with library staff, a professor from Farroupilha’s Instituto Federal, and Trillium Transit of Portland, Oregon, student volunteers were taught how to use apps and GPS devices to map Farroupilha’s bus system.
The first Mapathon happened in December of 2017. Over 20 student volunteers rode over 200 routes, mapping about half of the system. This data was later uploaded to the Transit mobile app, making Farroupilha the first city in Brazil to have bus schedule data show up in Transit.
A second Mapathon was held in 2018 to complete the data set. A community launch celebrated the volunteer accomplishments and the official launch of the dataset in July, 2019. Student volunteers mapped more than 1500 km!
In Belo Horizonte, a developer proposed Ponto Certo, an app to rate safety at bus stops and to collect information about issues and crime activity near or at the bus stop.
In Porto Alegre, a team dreamed up ByBus, a real-time transit app that shows when buses will arrive.