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Navigation apps aim to tackle Jakarta’s traffic problems

by June 21, 2016 General

With the capital’s chronic congestion unresolved, efforts to encourage more Jakartans to use public transportation are being intensified by the authorities and residents alike.

As part of attempts to step up information about public transportation options, new social navigation applications such as Apaja and Trafi have recently been developed.

A long-time denizen of Jakarta, Frenchman Robin Dutheil noticed that many Indonesians, even those born and raised in the capital city, knew little about the public transportation available, a result of a lack of information provided to the community.

Determined to take this problem in hand, Dutheil and his colleague Daisy Darmawati decided to leave their jobs to build Apaja, an app they hope to be a one-stop solution for daily commuters using public transportation.

Founded in 2013, Apaja provides information about train schedules and helps commuters to find public transportation.

The application also offers an interactive platform where users can share their thoughts. Since official data are often incorrect, Apaja users are given updates directly from the field, made available by users who can report on anything to the traffic situation around stations to drivers misbehaving.

Another mobile social navigation application designed to help commuters using public transportation plan their journey more effectively is Trafi.

Trafi was originally founded in 2012 and has since expanded globally, now operating in Brazil, Estonia, India, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Turkey, as well as Indonesia.

Trafi has various features available: route searches that help users find quickest routes, train and bus timetables and a route-details platform, which consists of static and real time data allowing users to see where the bus is currently located and its predicted arrival time.

Trafi Indonesia country manager Dimas Dwilasetio told The Jakarta Post that one of the app’s biggest challenges was the lack of data available on public transportation in Indonesia.

 “Other developed cities like London and Singapore have open access to data on public transportation. People can easily access and use that data to develop sites. We don’t have that here yet,” Dimas said.

Trafi works very closely with state-owned companies and the government, helping modernize fleet management and working toward a better public transportation system for the people of Jakarta.

According to Dimas, the government is aware of the urgent need to improve public transportation in Indonesia, but makes slow progress because of a tendency to rely on traditional approaches.

The writer is an intern at The Jakarta Post.