Getting from Point A to Point B

Locals power a transit app in Brazil.

[Para lêr isto em portugues, clique aqui.]

Students preparing to map local bus routes.
  • Where are the bus stops, and when do the buses arrive?
  • Where are the farmer’s markets?
  • How can we support local growers?
  • What’s going on in local libraries?
These are what prototypes look like.

The people spoke

The public votes on the prototypes at local public libraries

Researching a technology challenge

First, we wanted to understand what already exists in the market. When possible, we much prefer identifying an existing app or a technology tool that solves that need we heard, rather than developing a wholly new solution. It didn’t take long to learn that in the city of Canoas, Brazil, a transit app was developed that shows scheduled, non-real time information about bus stops. The developers were happy to talk about their app and share useful information about why and how it was developed. In the end, we decided against sharing their app with the greater community because it didn’t display real-time information, which was the persistent need community members voiced.

The players emerge: and the big one isn’t a human

Organizing the legions of data capturers

Librarians are key contributors to much of the work Caravan Studios initiates. Libraries are hosts for Caravan Studios events, allowing for diverse sets of community members to engage in dreaming and designing solutions that solve their present problems. Librarians are also skilled connectors who have deep knowledge of their community members, their challenges, and their strengths.

Gilmar, surrounded by team members, taking in his knowledge.

Riding the bus with a purpose

A student GPS mapper on the bus

It’s all learning

Like many of the projects Caravan Studios leads, this one was a labor of learning and sharing and gathering people together. Ricky Abisla, the lead instigator of this project, connected with a variety of people from Columbia, Poland, Mexico, Brazil, Denmark; organizations like the World Bank, Trillium, Transit, Moovit; and transit experts like Andy Nash in Denmark, Jackie Klopp of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, Diego Cuesy and Cristián Guerrero in Mexico City, Michal Gorski in Poland, Gabriel Oliveira and Bernardo Serra of the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy in Rio de Janeiro, Flavio Andre Treib in Canoas, Brazil, and David Schönholzer in Berkeley, CA.

Watch a video of the project in action.

Please join us

For now, we’re interested in what interests you. Tell us your ideas or thoughts about this project or topic. Or perhaps you’d like to join us — please get in touch!

Connects nonprofits & social benefit orgs w/ app-based tech to build solutions for real-world problems.Also tweets #opendata #hackathons.A division of @TechSoup

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