Technology That Empowers City-dwellers To Beat Traffic: Bey2ollak

In Africa, All, Crowd-Sourcing, Planning & Design, Technology, The Story, UDIN (All), Urban Inspiration by World Unwrapped

Organization Name: Bey2ollak

Bey2ollak is a crowd-sharing app for people in Cairo, Egypt. The problem in Cairo, as in many densely populated global cities and urban centers, is poor infrastructure which causes traffic. Instead of waiting for the authorities to fix the roads, which is a slow and difficult process, Bey2ollak allows people to share the best routes to get around around in Cairo. In addition to helping Egyptians get to work and university, Bey2ollak can use the data to make visible the severity of traffic issues in Cairo. This will help authorities identify how to fix the roads over time.

Bey2ollak has over 250,000 Facebook fans and 115,000 Twitter followers. Since Bey2ollak directly addresses an urban problem and has provided an innovative solution where users help one another, the app became extremely important to many Egyptians living in Cairo. With one million users, Bey2ollak is currently the eighth most popular and important brand in Egypt. When Facebook and Twitter were banned during the Egyptian revolution, people used Bey2ollak to locate protests and to self-organize. Prior to the revolution, there were only 30,000 registered users.

Bey2ollak is a crowd-sourcing app that integrates people and solutions to address a serious urban development issue. Traffic is an issues that is seen as less pressing when developing cities in developing countries, because other issues like housing and the economy more seem may pressing. But what the creators of Bey2ollak new was traffic creates unnecessary spatial limitations, inefficiency, and time-consumption. Traffic is not only an environmental issue, it is also an efficiency issue. By creating an app that helps remedy some traffic issues and “empower[s] people to beat traffic together,” Bey2ollak is tackling an urban development project without actually creating an urban development plan.

In this instance, technology becomes another way to create urban revitalization and sustainability, as well as a sense of community for Egyptians. Whether people are beating traffic so they can get to their jobs in the center of Cairo on time, or learning about unsafe roads during the 2011 revolution through the app–Bey2ollak has innovatively, and essentially, crowd-sourced urban development.