Cairo’s traffic is the stuff of legends. It’s easy to spend hours in total gridlock while trying to get from one side of the city to the other, with people honking and shouting.
Then there is the smog that spews from aging vehicles. But what to do about this economic, personal and social hazard?
The World Bank teamed up with Egypt’s Communications and Transportation Ministries to stage the first Cairo Transport App Challenge (Cairo TApp).
Local innovators were invited to submit homegrown mobile apps that address various aspects of the traffic problem, from aging infrastructure to public transportation, and the winning team then went on to the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The World Bank sites a handful of the best mobile apps to emerge from the 23 that were submitted to the Cairo TApp challenge.
“One of the ten finalists developed a GPS-enabled transportation guide called “ArkaBeh” which will not only help commuters plan their trips, but also serve as a means for reporting dangers such as harassment directly to the relevant authorities,” MENA blog writes.
Given a slew of harassment cases that have emerged in recent months, women are less inclined to use public transportation. This in turn increases the number of cars on the roads, which exacerbates both traffic and pollution.
“Taree2y” is somewhat similar to an Israeli application called Moovit in that it collates GPS information from smart phones throughout the city to provide real time traffic data. Ostensibly drivers could then use this information to avoid accidents and jams.
The winning app might surprise you. Instead of focusing on public transportation or fast flowing routes, “Beliaa” is a unique mobile mechanic service that provides information about the nearest car service provider. Which might sound strange, but jams are frequently caused when a car breaks down in the middle of the road.
In addition to responding to these situations, Beliaa would allow users to develop a service log to ensure that they stay current with their car maintenance program.
“The Apps developed promise not only to aid the millions navigating the streets of Cairo,” wrote World Bank blogger Hartwig Shafer, “but also to stimulate economic activity, by generating a demand for new services such as efficient, roadside repair.”
“Imagine the results of a much larger investment.”
:: MENA Blog
Beliaa is available in Google Play, Blackberry App World, Nokia Ovi Store, and Samsung Applications Store