Cairo takes to crowdsourcing to tackle traffic

With the revolution over, Cairo citizens are banding together through social media to take on a new challenge -- the city's notoriously terrible traffic. Egypt-based company Bey2ollak has devised a smartphone app that connects users to report on the latest traffic conditions throughout Cairo.

In a city where getting from Point A to Point B may easily take 2 hours, Bey2ollak (an Arabic term that roughly translates to "word on the street") is a welcome resource to avoid the most heavily congested roads. And road users aren't the only ones taken with the new app; Bey2ollak was recently awarded first prize in a Google-sponsored competition that sought out Egypt's best start-up enterprises.

The functionality of the app is simple, which has likely contributed to its success. Users can post updates through the app to let others know how light or heavy traffic is along a certain route, and they can check the most recent posts for a certain corridor before or during travel.

Not only can these features make travel easier for individual road users, but they may also help to mitigate or even reduce traffic congestion along some streets. Those stuck in traffic may use the app to re-route to a less congested road, and drivers who have not started their trip may check the app in advance to avoid traffic altogether. The app can essentially help to spread traffic out throughout the city rather than having it concentrated along a few over-used corridors. Users may also decide to delay certain trips, such as running errands or other non-work trips, if traffic conditions are very poor.

Perhaps the most important influence of the Bey2ollak app is its potential to reduce the total number of motorized trips taken within Cairo, thereby reducing overall congestion. Those who see in advance how bad the roads are may weigh the decision to travel more carefully and may simply decide to stay at home or take a shorter trip by foot or bike. In this way, Bey2ollak and other traffic alert apps may provide unanticipated congestion mitigation benefits to urban areas in addition to the intended time savings benefits to individual users.

~ Allison Bullock

Propose your intelligent on-road parking solutions to improve sustainability in Santiago de Chile

Santiago de Chile seeks new solutions to make its on-road parking more intelligent, unlocking environmental, traffic, security and user experience benefits and is inviting companies worldwide to submit their solutions before 17th February to the Living Labs Global Award 2012.

Submissions to the Award are free of charge and the winner of the Santiago de Chile category will be invited to pilot the solution in the city, with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

Last year, by winning the Living Labs Global Award, company Urbiotica managed to see a pilot implementation of its Smart Waste Sensors in Barcelona after winning the Living Labs Global Award 2010.

The city of Santiago the Chlie has joined the 2012 edition of the award aiming at solutions that may use different technologies such as the TAG system to optimize the on-road parking system to improve the urban mobility of the metropolitan region. By improving on-road parking, it is hoped that beneficial impacts like the reduction of emissions and particle contamination; improved traffic flow with shorter search-times for parking, increased capacity, access control to restricted urban areas, improved security and real-time information can be achieved. (more information here).

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online on until 17th February.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

For more information:


Tel.: +34 93 1855110 Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook:

LLGA Winners Pilot: Barcelona can Visualize Traffic Flows in Real-Time

Bitcarrier’s CitySolver Showcase was announced Winner of the Barcelona Category at the Living Labs Global Award 2011 at the Award Ceremony in Stockholm, by Anna Majo, Director of the 22@ Barcelona Innovation District. Barcelona’s jury reviewed more than 75 solutions and in the end chose Bitcarrier as bearing the biggest impact on its challenge to automate urban services.[youtube]

CitySolver is a solution based on wireless network technology and takes advantage of the proliferation of mobile devices. It is composed of proprietary software (a management platform) and hardware (a sensor for urban environments). CitySolver’s visualization platform allows the clients to get real time traffic information on different routes defined. Information regarding travel times, average speeds, and traffic volume is delivered to users and managers directly; sensors can be installed on existing urban furniture and do not require street closures or other expensive roadwork.

Since the announcement, Bitcarrier worked with the Urban Lab team of 22@ Barcelona to plan the implementation of a pilot as part of a larger consortium to combine traditional and new forms of capturing urban mobility data. Winning the Living Labs Global Award was critical to gain visibility and build trust with Barcelona’s city officials, creating the reference that CitySolver is indeed a new, viable and efficient solution for managing and controlling urban traffic.

Already in August the first phase was completed and included 14 Bitcarrier URBAN sensors installed in the Eixample Area of Barcelona. The consistent and homogenised data is published in real-time to a website accessible to the pilot’s consortium partners and that can be used for new application development to serve traffic managers, fleet managers, and end-users .

New applications and services based on this real-time information can as a result include short-term journey-time predictions and an active traffic management system, drawing also pedestrian movements and estimations of inter-modal changes based on the electronic footprint of mobile devices.

The pilot partners studied and evaluated the radius of detection for each sensor and the quality of data obtained to optimise the location for the sensors in the next phase, which will include 36 additional sensors. This second phase will be launched towards the end of 2011.

The Living Labs Global Award 2012 is open for entries until February 17, 2012.