On the fast lane – Bus Rapid Transit in Jakarta, Indonesia

Blog based on an article written by my colleague Claudia  Florowski .

The REEEP-funded TransJakarta project for low carbon public transport in Jakarta is stepping up its game. The project, part of  REEEP’s 8th programme call, just celebrated a successful milestone with the opening of another bus lane.

The implementing agency for this project is the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), a social for-profit organization that promotes sustainable transportation worldwide, and has broad experience in sustainable urban public transport.

Just in case you are not familiar with the BRT transport system used in this project, let me explain quickly. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a bus system operating on separate bus-only lanes, has its own stations throughout the city and follows a fixed route that has similarities to a metro plan in large cities.

Around 10 million people live and travel in Jakarta in what is not necessarily the most environmental friendly way – we all know the pictures of Asian cities packed with motorcycles, cars and tuk-tuks. The basic aim of this Jakarta-based project is to meet transportation needs of almost 330,000 passengers per day in a sustainable way. To be effective and carry more people around, the BRT system needs efficient small lines that feed the main line (so-called ‘feeders’).

Yoga Adiwinarto of ITDP has been managing the technical assistance program to improve the TransJakarta Bus Rapid Transit, the first such system in South- and Southeast-Asia. Because of the initial lack of feeder services, sub-optimal service design, weak operational control, physical design problems, and problems with the CNG supply, the system was losing hundreds of thousands of daily passengers who are forced to use less fuel efficient modes of transport like private cars and taxis.

 

We can now proudly say that our expectations were exceeded when we heard last week that a third line for the Jakarta BRT system has been opened! When we started to fund this project in 2011 one feeder lane was the target – this goes to show the enormous potential for BRT. We at REEEP are happy for Yoga’s success.

Of course, for us as an organization this is a great sign and proves our project implementers are strong partners. But this is not where our work stops. Imagine how (Linked) Open Data could be used to improve the transport system even more. If ITDP had easier access to geographic demographic data the BRT system could become even more efficient and sustainable. This is not an impossible task and one that REEEP is targeting right now with a joint intervention that includes ITDP and the World Wide Web Foundation as partners.

The Web Foundation has just recently extended their Open Data support in developing countries to Indonesia as they conducted a new Open Data Readiness Assessment in cooperation with the Ford Foundation. A first draft is accessible here: http://www.webfoundation.org/wp-content/cache/supercache/www.webfoundation.org/2013/06/destination-indonesia//

REEEP funding for this project will wrap up at the end of this year, but I am sure there is more in store for the guys from ITDP.

 

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