The Transit team:

With millions of commuters relying on our app to improve their trips, it’s our job to get access to the highest quality transit data available.

Up until now, we’ve had a pretty standard operating procedure whenever we launch a new city:

First, partner with a local transit agency. Second, acquire their open data. Third, compress the hell out of that data. Fourth, adapt the design of the app to that specific market. And finally, we release it—relaying all that info to users in the fastest, most intuitive way possible.

Local transit agencies are our best friends. By opening their data, agencies empower us to create a better rider experience in almost one hundred cities.

But what do you do in a city where there isn’t an agency to work with? What do you do when there’s no data to access?

How do you optimize a transit system when it doesn’t technically exist?

Transit is an app that maps and schedules public transit data, typically from a regulated and structured data source like local transit agencies.

The story of how they are using that same approach to provide transit data to the Kenyan city of Nairobi (where no centralized/regulars transit system exists) is fascinating from a social, technical, and human level.

It is cool seeing how smart people are building apps to tackle real (and difficult) problems in the world.