Improving Mobility in Bandung: Ideas from the #DataCollab Team

By Nabil Badjri, Ria Ernunsari and Mellyana Frederika

Photo Credit: Save the Children

Nearly two million passengers in Bandung can be transported by angkot minibus annually. And yet, only one third utilises this mode of transport, while the number of private vehicles in the city continues to increase. Following the city government’s launch of the Bandung Urban Mobility Project, a few of us (hailing from different organisations: Data Science Indonesia (DSI), Hivos, Pulse Lab Jakarta and Code4Bandung) kicked off a data-driven initiative to assess the project’s progress and to help shape some realistic goals.

We all had one common understanding: active listening was a prerequisite if our collaborative effort were ever going to meet the needs of the people.

In line with this principle, Hivos and DSI recently spearheaded a two-day ideation workshop in Bandung to continue discussions on how to improve mobility in the city. Below we share a few strategic concepts that we gleaned from the many presentations:

Consider transit-oriented development as a long-term goal

Safer and faster transport of people from one place to the next has always been an objective for Bandung City Government. It is well known that mass transportation systems, such as a train system and bus rapid transportation (BRT), are potentially more economical and eco-friendly. They are often fast and have their own mobility infrastructure, thus bypassing traffic congestion. Notwithstanding, there is also the idea of limiting unnecessary movements from one place to another, by establishing an integrated land use system known as transit oriented development. This idea though requires money and time, as evaluated by Dinas Perhubungan Kota Bandung and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP). While studies are on the way to properly design a blueprint, it is evident that interim solutions are still necessary to tackle the everyday traffic issue.

Optimise existing capacity with real-time data analytics

According to ITDP, the lack of data on city mobility is a limitation to preparing a comprehensive transportation plan. Traditionally, an origin-destination survey took the form of household questionnaires involving hundreds of respondents. Though vital for informing the government about mobility patterns, such data collection process is expensive and time-consuming. Modern technology provides new data sources; researchers are now able to harness data from CCTV, sensors, social media, google traffic, as well as from a crowdsourcing application called SEMUT that guides users to public transportation, including angkot minibus. With 357 CCTV cameras in almost 100 locations, Bandung has the ability to employ a similar approach to fill such data gaps and to better manage the city’s transportation system.

Improve the public transportation experience

Waiting and queuing are common drawbacks to using public transportation in Bandung. There is often no hours-of-operation schedule — a bus or an angkot minibus typically stops along the designated section of the road based on request. Given this, the certainty as to when public transportation will arrive at a certain terminal is small. Aiming to improve the experience of those who use public transportation, Rindu menanti supplies free books at bus stops and in angkot minibuses. In addition, Save the Children has piloted a roadside safety project in some schools in the city to help reduce the number of roadside accidents and associated fatality and injuries among children and youth. The project included training sessions, awareness campaign and the construction of roadside safety infrastructure.

Reduce private vehicle usage

Many people prefer to travel in a private car compared to public transportation, because of the comfort, reliability and prestige that is linked to using a private car. As part of the attempt to reduce traffic and air pollution from exhaust fumes, some residents have volunteered their time to encourage fellow residents to switch from private car usage to other transportation modes, such as angkot minibus, bus, bike and even walking. Pecinta Damri Community (PCD) is group of volunteers who came together in 2011 to organise campaigns that promote the use of state-owned public transit buses. The volunteers provide information about the bus schedules on social media and at bus terminals. Another initiative called Bike to Campus also encourages students to ride to campus via an urban cycling campaign. The designation of Thursday as “bike to campus day” is one aspect of it.

Transform the behavior and attitude of road users

Traffic jams are frequently caused by motorists themselves, in the sense of decisions made without considering possible obstructions. Since 2013, Edan Sepur (a community group that focuses on improving the train transportation system) has assisted Indonesia Railways Company (KAI), the local police and Bandung Transportation Agency (Dishub Kota Bandung) in disciplining road users at road and railway intersections, branded under a campaign called #disiplinperlintasan (intersection discipline). These activities take place every Friday from 3–6 PM, and typically involve preventing motorists and pedestrians from crossing the railway tracks when the crossbar is down. Though violators are not issued expensive fines, they are given a warning in the form of sanctions to deter future repeats.

At the end of the ideation workshop, it was obvious to us that there is a multiplicity of ongoing approaches. The guide on participatory approaches from around the world features cases of urban design based on urban data collection. As our initiative is also a collaborative approach, we find it useful to highlight these concepts presented by different organisations and communities in order to prevent unnecessary duplication of efforts and to better synchronise future initiatives. It is our aim to develop the ideas from this and future workshops into more tangible outputs, in concert with the community, the city government, academics and practitioners.


This blog is published as part of our #DataCollab Series. #DataCollab is a data innovation collaboration for Bandung City, initiated by HIVOS, Data Science Indonesia, Pulse Lab Jakarta and Code4Bandung. Contact us if you are interested in joining our collaboration.

Ria Ernunsari is a Project Leader at #DataCollab from Hivos.
Nabil Badjri leads Strategic Partnership at Data Science Indonesia (DSI).
Mellyana Frederika is a Programme Specialist from Pulse Lab Jakarta.

Pulse Lab Jakarta is grateful for the generous support from the Government of Australia.